Endurance

Listen

❝ If you’re listening to the body when it whispers to you, you don’t have to hear it scream.❞~Nils van der Poel This post is not another archetypal analysis of the 5 on – 2 off, big volume training program published by Nils, https://www.howtoskate.se/. Instead, I’d like to look closer at something I’ve not seen anyone else discuss: reducing mental load and increasing confidence. “I wasn’t mentally strong as a kid, I hated to compete ever since I started speed skating, I truly hated it.” This point was made crystal clear in Nils’ “Sommarprat” 2021. In fact, he had a

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Health

Several years ago I battled with depression. It was hell. Thanks only to a dear friend who actually heard me, and realised the severity of my state, did things turn around. I’m happy and healthy now. But just as in addiction recovery, I have to make a conscious choice every day to shun the melancholic vortex and choose healthier paths. This takes energy. Physical exercise takes energy as well. As an endurance athlete, I spend many hours each week in training: yoga, swimming, biking, running, strength workouts and more. I do it because I love moving my body, being fit

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Training & Intensity Distribution

There’s a lot of talk about polarised training—most training is performed at low intensity and a small amount at higher intensities, once a solid foundation is developed. Training needs to become more polarised as an athlete’s fitness level increases in order to ensure that metabolic load is maintained. However, a lower level athlete can’t really train in a polarised fashion because low intensity is already a high load on the system. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly difficult to put into practice for people who have a lower level of fitness. Lack of fitness is not due to lack of intensity.

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Even if…

Even if you’re only doing what’s fun, it’s still 𝙙𝙤-𝙞𝙣𝙜.Enjoying one’s work is not permission to continually extract.Fallow & replenishment are necessary. Nature has day and night, cold and warm, wet and dry, and four seasons for a reason. Humans have a multitude of circadian rhythms. We can work with them or, to our peril, fight them. In a podcast episode entitled Burnout and Renewal, Charles Eisenstein opened up and bared himself. He started by doing what he always does, investigate the substratum of life. In this case, he became the subject of enquiry. Devorah Brous beautifully went down the

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Leaning In

The most efficient running occurs when the person stands tall and leans forward, as a whole, from the ankles and up through the pelvis and torso. Gravity does the work of pulling us along while we move within it. What’s required from the athlete is a stable, yet relaxed, frame that can support the skeleton and the joints in movement with the least amount of resistance possible. In order for this to occur, muscle strength must be developed and kinaesthetic awareness in space cultivated. This is where the bulk of the work happens. Through patience, we spend the time necessary

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Stress…Response

Within minutes of the sun rising over Mauna Kea the air temperature noticeably rises. Today’s ride was done and dusted before sweltering temps and trade winds could overly impact my workout. This is in contrast to a ride last week when temps were 10°C warmer and my heart rate was upwards of 30 beats per minute higher. Both environments are useful, but it’s important that the body and mind are prepared for the differing stressors—that workouts and recovery are coordinated to allow for healthy development. The goal of all training is to provide the body with adaptation stimuli. The goal

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Capacity & Power

“Most triathletes are doing too much [high-intensity work]. You don’t need more than 1 HIT session per week.” ~Jan Olbrecht PhD “Many recreational athletes are scared [that they’re] not training hard enough. What they need to be thinking about is training easy enough, and long enough in the low-intensity sessions to build biological durability so that the high-intensity sessions really can be developmental.” ~Dr. Stephen Seiler Dr’s Olbrecht & Seiler, two highly respected leading sport scientists, are very clear that most people place too much emphasis on high-intensity training (HIT). Let’s take a look at the reasoning. The physiological engine

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Endurance Training

❝What is very clear is that the best athletes in endurance sport spend ~90% of the time below the first lactate turn-point.❞ ~Stephen Seiler, PhD & Dean, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences and Nutrition, Universitetet i Agder, Kristiansand, Norway Building fitness takes work. A very important part of it is knowing how hard, how much, how often, and why. The last one—why—affects everything else. The reason for doing something changes so it’s important to continually revisit the question. It can empower you to healthy excellence or lead to disease. It can build you up or provoke injury. The first

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Prep & Base Training

Prep & Base

In my post entitled Off-Season, I quickly summarised the most important phase of the year, off-season, for recovery of the mind and body. In this post, I’ll outline the next two phases. The point of sharing this information is to help facilitate the process of learning, and to help athletes avoid some of the pitfalls or at least lessen their time in them. The two meso-phases after Off-season are Preparation and Base training. The underlying foci in both are the accumulation of training volume, building strength and improvement in technique (form). The base phase consists of three micro-phases, each with small

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Downtime

Off-Season

It took me many years to learn the importance of downtime. This year, I finally headed advice from Alan Couzens and took an entire month of complete rest. Alan, Mike James, and many others know the importance of enjoying another 4-6 weeks, after the complete rest period, for really light, even unplanned exercise. This is sometimes known as the Transition phase. Between time off and ‘soft’ month that’s 8 weeks of no training!! It’s been an incredible experience for me these last 7 weeks to watch the progression in my mind and body as structures heal, the mind recharges, and

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UMC Day 3

Embrace

A good friend recently asked me, “What does it feel like to embrace the pain?” It’s an interesting question to ponder, and one that I wouldn’t have had an answer to before Ultraman Canada. For all other events in my life I’ve fought the mental, emotional, and physical pain, gone to battle with it in an attempt to hold it at bay, or hopefully fight it away. Photo by Colin F Cross Other than recently, the only time I haven’t waged war against the pain was once, while in the depths of depression, when I no longer had the energy to hold up the mask

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2nd Place Overall

Endurance Insights

One of the overarching reflections I have of racing Ultraman Canada 2019 can be summarised as, “Where did that performance output come from?!” In one regard, I wouldn’t have extrapolated my prior data and experience to predict the achieved results. On the other hand, there are clues to be found in the methodology and mindset. I entered the event believing in the possibility of achieving excellence. This is fundamental because without a positive mental attitude a low ceiling is already cemented into place. Removing perceived boundaries provides room for potential to express itself in extraordinary ways. Keep in mind, however,

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Alignment

“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.”~William James In October 2012 I suffered a pylon fracture of my right ankle, an injury that two surgeons said was the end of impact sports for me. Fortunately, in the dark and painful moments in the ER, my best friend was there to help turn on the light switch. A mantra began to sprout, Always Believe. Before surgery, I spoke with the surgeon and

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Twist of Lime

It was a miserable, miserable day at Ironman Ireland, Cork. Nearing the finish line, I was tremendously grateful that it was over. Yet, a few days later I began to taste a sweet twist of lime that I had missed during the 11+ hours of heavy rain and wind. The pelting downpour, cold temperatures and poor logistics management by the race organisation were challenging, to say the least. However, the continual outpour of well-wishing and support from the spectators was heart-warming; for them, I kept digging deeper. Deluge The Youghal and County Cork residents are perhaps the most wonderful people I’ve

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Z1 Training

Slow Cook It

When you crank the thermostat the room heats quickly. On an already warm day, it takes quite a while for the temperature to reach liveable levels again. The human body works in a similar fashion. With intense exercise, the system throws fast burning fuels into the furnace to meet and maintain required energy levels. In then takes time to recover and replace the resources consumed. In other words, once you burn your britches you have to stitch a new pair, walking around exposed in the meantime. The smarter move is to nudge the thermostat, letting the tissues and processes heat

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