Monday, September 29, 2008

Your Body Is Precision Instrument

I would be well advised to keep that sentiment in mind. For the last couple of weeks I've been attempting to deconstruct my body's apparent mutiny against all things training related. Honestly, it wasn't really all that difficult and it didn't take a PhD to figure it out. My work schedule at the latter part of the summer was abysmal. (You know, maybe there is something to my mom's assertion that the use of profanity is for those who lack the vocabulary to express themselves appropriately. (Did you notice my use of the word "abysmal?" If you did can you tell my mom?) At any rate if that wasn't enough, when both my Naturopath and Acupuncturist used the same phrase to describe my sudden onset of chronic fatigue, "Low Kidney Chi," I knew I wasn't gonig to like what came next. But don't ask me what the phrase means exactly. All I know is that in their traditions the kidneys are the energy stores that come into play AFTER the adrenals. So when you burn through the adrenals and deplete the kidneys, you've essentially dug through the bottom of the well. When they both looked at me with those, "You poor, poor dear" eyes, I knew my season was done. Crap.

But I digress. Looking back at my year, I can see that my training, when following a set pattern yields consistent fitness gains. What I can also see is that when my schedule is changed I begin to "wing" my training attempting to fit in the same number of workouts with less recovery and/or sleep. I also notice when this compression of my workouts comes into play, my carefully crafted diet also gets shot full of holes. It is just one short fast downward spiral from there. "Game over, player one."

But now after a couple of weeks of low intensity work, consistent rest and restoring my prior eating habits everything seems to be looking up. I've upped the intensity of my workouts recently but kept their duration modest. Nothing much over 2 hours and I've been consciously finishing my workouts with plenty of energy left.

This winter I want to spend some time addressing some things to get ready for next season. I'll have to deal with my job because this is be biggest challenge I face not only with regard to my training and racing, but simply with my overall health and well being. I also want to deal with my body composition. I made a lot of headway in this area over the last couple of years but I could still lose about 7 pounds. Losing this weight would go a long way to improving my running speed/economy. To do this I put some of that Personal Trainer knowledge I've acquired over the last couple of years and started some serious calorie counting. Don't worry, its all very scientific. I don't plan on losing more than a pound a week.

The next area I plan to address is my swimming. My swimming was affected by my decision early in the year to take the Yoga Teacher training class. This was followed by the 6 weeks of recovery and rehab after my bike wreck. For some reason I wasn't comfortable putting a lot of stress on the arm so, I pretty much babied my swims in races and in practice. Over the course of the winter I'll be doing a lot of long sets for base/strength to address my lack of actual time in the water this spring.

Last but not least my cycling has to get much better. I'd like it to be better than when I stopped racing 6 years ago, but at this point I'll settle for just as good. Thanks to aging, most guys in my age group can't ride as fast as I was riding so that's fine with me. :) This winter I'm going to focus on power more. My pedal stroke doesn't appear to break down so I'll spend less time on economy. I'll do more sets with turning over bigger gears faster now. We'll see what happens with that. As I get more specific I'll keep you up to date with what I'm seeing as far as results are concerned. Well, I'd better get back to work.

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