Thursday, February 9, 2012

Peaking, Puking & Poking Holes

With 3 more weeks to go to my 12th Ironman, I feel I am beginning to gain momentum in my progress. The grind through the long sessions was particularly hard on both my body and mind. My upper body strength during my swim sessions is improving. My riding speed is holding steady, especially with a road-bike and narrow-rimmed wheels. My run off the ride is more certain, sure and studied. My running cadence is nearing 90rpm consistently, with the heightened possibility of a negative split (I hope). These remaining weeks will be crucial, for I have a disruptive professional work schedule.

Holding back at times can be hard, especially when you are in the ‘zone’. Once warmed up, or when you experience your ‘second wind’ it can be tempting to push harder. Experiencing nausea, gastrointestinal (GI) distress and vomiting means the body is not coping with the pace and intensity of effort. To use a superhero analogy, one would do better to not express one’s powers fully until the right time. It is okay to experience fear, if fear keeps you alert to danger.

With my track record with pre-race injury, I need to be mindful and not just cautious. Any residual injury can usurp my position for optimal performance. If I have to dig deep with sub-optimal conditions, it may be pushing myself too hard. This may have implications on my 13th race in Switzerland in July. My strategy is to recover completely and plunge into more race-specific fitness focused on key areas where I can gain more speed and sustainability. I seem to be healing from my recent injuries and this evening's 2-hour strength ride with two sets of 30-minute time trials was promising. I held a 30kph pace, against persistent headwinds whilst on my road-bike setup. I am optimistic about my performance once I switch to aero-wheels.

Leadership Lessons: How often do you poke holes in your plan? How critical are you about inefficiency (including wastage)? How hard do you push yourself without devouring your reserves? How well do you monitor your performance? When do you know to throttle down your ambition?

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