Thursday, November 19, 2015

For Sparta: Spartan Race Singapore 2015

The inaugural, Spartan Race Singapore was held on Sunday, 15 November 2015.

I bought a last-minute slot ( expensive, by local standards), and got the 2.00pm flag-off.

The event was well-organised, despite the 6,000 participants that ploughed through from dusk till late-afternoon. They were altogether 15 stations, or series of stations in the 6-8km route. The route was designed along the scenic Bayfront area.

I was in the lead for the two loops until I suffered two penalties at two stations: Monkey-Bars and Spear-Throwing. Each of my failures cost me 30 Burpees (with pushups and squat-jump), and these left me fairly knackered. I was happy to jump across the hot fiery coals just before the finish-line. I think I may be fifth or sixth, due to lost minutes.

I look forward to next year's edition, likely a 16km, however with more preparations in the following areas:

1) Join a CrossFit class to learn the specific movements required in Spartan Games.
2) Really strengthen my body in all planes (forwards, sideways and rotatory).
3) Achieve completions in  various WODs (Workout of the Day).
4) Perform run-push-pull-climb-run 'brick' sets.
5) Ensure complete recovery of my shoulders and rehabilitate. This is my Achilles Heel.
6) Lift heavier weights, and perform Spartan-related exercises.
7) More plyometrics (jumping and landing) in my exercise diet.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Endurance Events & Being In The Zone

When I participated in the Nanowrimo 30-Day Challenge, I wrote 50,000 words for an unedited story/novel in 30 days. If I missed a day, I had to catch up with twice the amount. Each session was described as hectic, and sometimes, being ‘in the zone’. Yet, I got it done despite he crazy self-imposed timeline.

Athletes have described being ‘in the zone’ as a trance-like state, where focus becomes pinpoint sharp, and performance feels effortless. It is distinctly different from ‘zoning out’, where focus is lost due to daydreaming.

Endurance sports and its requisite training sessions, demand that we activate our values of patience, tenacity, determination, persistence and resourcefulness. Long sessions require such values to complete long sessions for swimming, running and cycling.

Leadership Lessons: Just do it. Plot a time slot, and commit to completion. Do your best, and exhaust your time. Assess your results. Write first. Edit later.

Beat Your Best: The Time-Crunched Athlete

If you need something done, give it to a busy person. If you are time-crunched for a race preparation, you can do twice-a-day sessions. The current ‘haze’ condition and bad air quality has led to jettisoned sessions, or indoor-sessions. Nevertheless, with creative scheduling and workout design you can still save your race (and race fitness).

Upside: You can split a long run into two shorter sessions. For instance, a 21km run can be split into 10km and 11km sessions. I have done two hours of indoor-cycling on the turbo-trainer in the morning, followed with an evening o1-hour session. My legs, generally, feel fresher and I can opt for similar intensity, or higher. It is now wonder that elite swimmers train twice a day, 4-5 days per week. When I was training for my Boston Qualifiers (BQ), I sometimes did two sessions per day as my additional session in the ‘Run Less, Run Faster’ approach. I never exceeded four sessions of running, all done at tempo-paced. A second session may be shorter, and focused on slopes or off-road surface.

You can also integrate short (15-20 minutes) strength and core stability sessions. These sessions will shift focus onto rehabilitative interventions, muscle-rebalances, and developing functional strength. I end each aerobic session with balance-work (proprioceptive), kettle-bell training, and free-hand/bodyweight exercises.

Down side: You will have to wash another set of exercise attire. Also, be mindful of your energy levels. If need be, fuel up about 15-20 minutes before a session with Hammer Nutrition Perpeteum or Hammer Gel. I use a 645-ml serving bottle (26 servings). Hydrate throughout the day. I use ginger-tea to reduce post-exercise swelling and inflammation.

Leadership Lessons: Prioritise. Make important things important. Shift your focus to relevance and the necessary. However, chores still need to be done.