Sunday, June 8, 2014

Early Morn' Confessions From the East Coast

It's currently 4:30am ET... I am up and at 'em. I think I'm just excited by the fact that I have six athletes racing this weekend (seven if you count one of my consulting clients), and two of them already landed on the podium Saturday:
My mom and sister! Podium girls!!! I am so stikin proud! That race is short, but NOT easy with a tough ocean swim in harsh surf conditions and a deep-sand run.

So why am I up so early? Not quite sure because I did have a little more time to "sleep in" but that didn't happen so I figured I'd get up and enjoy a little quiet time before sh*t gets crazy. Yea, today is Eagleman and in less than half an hour it will be chaos and full of energy in our condo. Thankfully I'm staying with my athlete and his family at a really nice condo less than 2 miles from the half-ironman start, and for the record this is probably the NICEST accommodations I've had for a triathlon in my life. Actually, our Ironman Canada 2011 house was cool with a beautiful view -- tucked into apple orchards and winery grape leaves, but it was a small and old house. This condo is large and very new.

Anyway, the final decision for me is no racing or participating of any kind in Eagleman. I was going to at least do the swim until I realized that was risky as well because the wrist brace really negatively impacts my left-side swim mechanics and it bothers my shoulder/bicep tendon after a while. The last thing I want is to create another injury with just five weeks until Vineman.
I still got a chance to swim in the Choptank River, where the Eagleman swim takes place. We were GoPro'ing it up and having fun. The water out here ain't like the ocean at home lol. I'm excited to get that brace off!!!
So speaking of Vineman, here's a little sneak peak on what's to come from me....

I've decided to experiment with a minimalist training style leading up to the race. I've already started and I LOVE it. Feeling amazing.

Here's my logic and why I'm doing it:

This year, I started re-building a solid base for 3+ months (mid-January to May 3). However, in doing so I was reverting back to old habits that really didn't fare well for me -- namely digging myself into a deep rut of fatigue. I loved the training but it was taking a toll -- and quickly taking a toll on me this time. I could see signs of breakdown just like what's happened to me before. So this time, instead of ignoring the signs and just continuing to thrash my body (and mental state) with one big/hard day after another I decided it's time for change.  Enter: minimalist training.

I'm not saying this is 100% the solution nor the best answer -- I am away the higher intensity of minimalist training can be risky in itself -- but I have to give it a chance because what I've been doing prior is a) very effective for good performance on many levels, but b) also not so good for me in terms of health, quality of life outside training/racing, and eventually performance once you meet that point of diminishing returns. I've seen my health and energy suffer -- not to any great degree in which I'm risking severe health problems of long-term issues, but enough for me to not want to continue on that path.

Here's the other thing speaking to quality of life: I am a million percent committed to my work and job -- I love coaching, training people, teaching classes, doing the podcast, writing and all that I have going on and I want to be my best at that. When I get so incredibly tired from training every day I'm not my best. It's important for me to continue building my career with great energy, focus and dedication.

I'm also not doing this just for me, but for an education that can possibly help in other ways...
As a coach with a background in and passion for exercise science/ physiology/ endurance sport, I am totally into the idea of doing an n=1 experiment on myself with a different training style. It's like nutrition -- there's no "one size fits all" but if I can at least sample and test what's available out there, then I can at least help others find their "ideal" way coming from experience.

So, it's time to switch things up. Like I said, I am in NO way suggesting that minimalist training is going to be the golden solution for me nor is it for everyone, but I know my life and all that's going on in my world as of late, it just seems like the most reasonable path to take for now.

And ya know what? I look at it this way: I got nothin' to lose. If it works for Vineman and future 70.3s, then hell yea. If it doesn't work and my race is a flop, or maybe just not as good as I've done in the past? Well, then I learned a valuable lesson.

A fraction of my inspiration to take this route comes from Sami Inkinen. And trust me, I am NOT expecting to all of a sudden be an AG champion like he is on 6-7hr a week (YES, folks, there is a genetic component to Sami's success as well as a level of self-discipline that makes Sami a freak of nature -- and I'm saying that in a good way of course -- which not everyone can just accomplish). I had Sami on my podcast recently, so if you want to hear more about his approach to training then listen in.

Anyway... troops are about to wake up. Time to get to work.

1 comment:

  1. You probably made the right choice about Eagleman. I tried the race a few years ago, but my swim weakness got the better of me. Plus I discovered that my goggles were covered in some sort of sunscreen or lotion, just before the start, and I couldn't see, even when I was standing on the shore before the start. In the water, I had no idea where I was going, and missed the cutoff. But they didn't tell me until after I finished the entire bike leg and got a bad sunburn on my lower back. I don't mind doing long rides, but I'd prefer a sunburned ride to at least count for the race. Oh well.

    Anyway, interesting to hear about the new training approach. I might try something similar myself this summer. I'm training for an Olympic tri, so I don't need to do big hours anyway, as an amateur athlete. I found that the lingering fatigue of previous training seasons was not so great either. Plus this past winter, I got myself sick twice, whereas in my first 5 seasons of triathlon/endurance training, I didn't get sick once. It was a combination of doing too many hard workouts in base (simulated hill sessions on the spin bike), doing too many back-to-back or even three workouts in a row with minimal calorie intake (maybe because I was thinking about fat adaptation but doing it wrong) and just not eating enough. It all came to a head in March (I think?) when I started shivering uncontrollably in the pool. Even after getting into a hot whirlpool, I couldn't stop shivering. My heartrate remained elevated, about 20 bpm above normal resting HR, for over 48 hrs.! That was a clear sign that my hormonal system had gone bonkers and it was time to shut everything down immediately. It took me more than a month before I started to feel right again. When I came back, my legs felt like there was a lot of gunk in them. I'm not a super athlete, but I was comfortable with 2-4 hr. moderate bike rides and 2-3 hr. runs. In April, my legs were killing me from doing an easy 5-mile bike ride. After a few weeks, my base fitness slowly came back.

    This was a big learning experience.

    Great podcasts on Endurance Planet!