Monday, December 31, 2012

Train Every Part of Your Body

'Then, you better train every part of your body...' ~ Bruce Lee, late-great martial artist.

In recent weeks, I have sought rehabilitation and physical training from indoor-riding. Yes, I have been facing the wall. Well, sort of. I do watch television, at times, while riding indoors on my road-bike. It does take the mind off, occasionally, the mundaneness of pedaling to static scenery.

My endurance-racing community know that I tend to spend dizzying spells of time riding indoors. On average, I spend about two hours in each session, with my longest ride meeting the three-hour mark. How do I do it? Isn't it all mental? It certainly is. However, it is also physical and emotional.

In an Ironman triathlon, the ride is about 180km far and long. Thus, in training we are encouraged to ride at least, once, the distance, or a duration of at least six hours. This is both physically and mentally taxing. Riding is a fun activity that takes it toll when it exceeds our attention span, and our energy reserves. When the scenery changes, or the terrain shifts, we can move our focus to other points of interests or discomfort. 

My friend, Melvin How (multiple-Ironman finisher and age-grouper elite runner) commented that since 'I face the wall, then I am prepared to hit the wall'. I laughed at his sense of humour, as we know fully well in endurance-sports that when we 'run out of gas' or 'bonk', we are 'hitting the wall'. This state can be both physical and mental. The anecdotal and scientific research strongly points to a defeat of the mind before the body does.

Riding indoors is an accompaniment to actual road-riding, especially when the we face inclement weather. It has been described that one hour of indoor-riding feels like 1.5 hours of riding outdoors. Having ridden for a few weeks on my indoor set-up (rim-roller system), I am unable to tell the difference. Perhaps, it is because I subscribe to Dr Phil Maffetone's precepts of 'aerobic training' that I keep my heart-rate monitored within my range (180-my age). This allows my body to tap more on the fatty-acid system as my main source of energy. Watching DVDs of the Ironman World Championships gives me a relevant and pleasant distraction from doing my own 'mind-games' (more on this shortly). What is important is to teach my body to be disciplined in purposeful and structured training, with whatever time I can invest in my racing development.

Two more months to Ironman New Zealand, and I will keep you posted on my training preparations. What is critical, is to accustom (train) your body to reach its goals of being race-fit on race-day. Happy New Year!

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