Monday, May 14, 2012

Efficiency & The Time-Crunched Athlete

Being efficient is the key. Efficiency is the value of reducing wastage. It is not merely about doing things fast, often mistaken for efficiency. Expediency and effectiveness are factors in this simple equation of being efficient.

1) Planning and organising
Where will your training take place? Proximity and ease of access is critical. Will you be doing your core-strength workout at home, or at the nearby fitness park? You can do a warm-up jog to the park, then do your exact sets based on your prescribed menu of exercises. If riding, factor in warm-up and cool-down time, so you are not late in your appointments, thereafter. Today, as planned I did a 60-minute pool-run, and this evening a 105-minute ride/60-minute swim 'brick session'.

2) Specificity of Sports
You can do one type of exercise, or a combination. Squeezing in too much into one workout may be counter-productive. Our body responds specifically to the type of activities we do. Type refers to any of the platforms of fitness including flexibility, aerobic, anaerobic, strength, power, agility or balance. For triathletes, you need to do 2-3 sessions of each discipline depending on your next race. For maintenance, two sessions of each discipline will be adequate to provide the ‘training effect’. It is akin to musicians practising occasionally once they have mastered the chords/keys. Amplify the workouts to three each before a half-Ironman or full one. Rule of guide: one workout for endurance, one for strength, and one for race-pace. If you are training exclusively for a marathon, you can still incorporate cross-training. That is why I run only three times a week, and I rarely exceed 40-45K in total mileage. My base fitness allows me to train with less chance of injuries, and I enjoy integrated fitness from my swimming and riding.

3) Stay focused on your goals
What is your intention of training? Is it to complete a race, earn a personal best time, to maintain basic fitness, weight-management, or to enjoy more vitality and vigor? Every session, however long or short must serve its purpose. You must also inject a modicum of commitment to completing the sessions you set out to do. Excuses are easy to formulate, however when they accumulate can/will impair your progression. There is no reason you cannot achieve more, with less (more concerted, focused and scientific approaches) sessions (total hours). Even a short 30-minute home-workout can comprise proprioception (balance) work, core-development, muscular strength, flexibility and anaerobic/power work.

Leadership Lessons: How do you organize your life? How much planning and preparation goes into your day and week? How efficient can you be at both your profession and pastime? How do you pack more bang for your buck with your time? By the way, I wrote and published this piece in 25 minutes after helping a friend remove her pedals from a road-bike.

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