Training

Training Intensities

Smart Training

Most of your training should be Low Intensity Training (LIT); 90-100% in fact! The remaining amount ought be High Intensity Training (HIT). All work over the moderate intensity zone is decreasingly economical because the rate of oxygen consumption versus power output is disproportionally high (compared with low intensity). A small amount of severe intensity training is beneficial for stimulating neuromuscular pathways, some improvements in cardiac response, as well as to strengthen connective tissue (assuming type and amount of load is appropriate for the individual). The reason we stay out of the middle is that “heavy” training creates a high burden for

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Consistency

Consistency

That hurt. …And I loved it! After two months of fluctuation it’s time to dig in again and get some solid, steady training done. Today, I FINALLY got back on a trainer! It’s been fabulous to live in a splendorous (new) location, journey to two races, build new friendships, and revisit an intriguing city. But between unstable weather, a few body tissue issues, recovery time, and travel days I’ve become increasingly uneasy with the lack of consistency. For the next two months I’ll be in one location, and hopefully with limited distractions. Some will consider me a nutcase for saying

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Stress + Rest

Jedi Force, Jedi Rest

Perhaps the placebo effect so often talked about is actually psychosomatic medicine. A research article entitled Chronic Psychological Stress Impairs Recovery of Muscular Function and Somatic Sensations points to this. There are physiological *AND* psychological costs to training. Stress is a disruption from the homeostatic state, regardless of the type of stimulus. We break ourselves down with the plan, and goal, of building ourselves back up––stronger than before. However, I often see athletes and coaches emphasise the first part of the improvement equation: Stress + Rest = Progress Rest is where ALL the adaptations, the advancements, occur. Without recovery progress

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Sleep

Recovery

Why are some athletes OK with training 7 days/week (1 day being just movement, without any actual physical stress) and others, like me, need a day off? In a Science of Ultra podcast with Dr. Shawn Bearden, Dr. Shona Halson, Senior Recovery Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport, clued me in. …It depends on one’s own psychological landscape. There are athletes who have trouble taking a day off. They feel stressed if not engaged. Then there are those, like me, whose mind is quietened and strengthened by regularly turning off sport specific focus. I found through experience that just

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Yes

Yes!

Yes! Today was my official return to structured training after some time off. It feels Grrrreeeeeat! I’m a big believer in the importance of taking time away from one’s primary sport (or career) to allow for regeneration of physical tissues, to provide time for the mind to absorb all that has happened, and to grant the spirit space to charge our batteries. Room is required in order for growth to occur, and when that gap is mindfully provided it fosters cultivation of positive change. Development doesn’t always happen exactly as–or when–desired, but we can arrange our environment in a way

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Start Again

Flow

In a recent article entitled “Maybe We All Need a Little Less Balance”, Brad Stulberg explores the idea of balance. He writes that it’s not balance that allows us to flourish in our life and pursuits, but instead internal self-awareness: “the ability to see yourself clearly by assessing, monitoring and proactively managing your core values, emotions, passions, behaviors and impact on others.” This immediately resonated with me. I don’t think anyone who has met me would use balanced as a descriptor. Those close to me are apt to say driven, or focused. Reflecting upon my past accomplishments the sense of

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On Point

Vigilance

I’m feeling on point with my training. Healthy, even. Body, mind, spirit. Does that mean everything is perfect? Definitely not. Development is a process. Vigilance, commitment, and consistency are key. Admittedly, sometimes I want to throw them out the window. Actually, sometimes I do, but then, like a kid after a temper tantrum, I go and pick them up again. Why do I get fed up, and why do I return? Those are questions I’ve inquired into a lot. It’s just so damn much work at times. But I can’t not do it. Occasionally, when I’m listening, Grace reminds me

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Flow vs Resistance

Resistance

The hardest part of working out is overcoming resistance–more so in the mind than the body. Even when the body is protesting for legitimate reasons, I still find that it’s in the mind that most of the combat is waged. Sometimes–actually, fairly often–in the morning there’s reluctance to doing yoga. My approach is to key into the fact that I know I’ll feel better in body, mind, and spirit afterwards. That’s not always enough of an impetus to get me on the mat, so I invite myself to just sit down, start breathing, and begin simple seated movements. I know

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Data & Spirit

Data & Spirit

During the last three months of spring training I’ve focused on building resiliency and durability in body and mind, while maintaining balance in spirit. I’ll discuss some data first, then dive into spirit. Data 96% of my workout time has been in zone 1 & zone 2. 4% of the workload was in intensity zones. * NOTE: This will actually be more like 2% when I eventually increase the total duration of Aerobic Capacity/Basic Endurance work. In other words, total volume does not directly correlate to a definitive percentage of intensity volume. We all know this from daily life: you

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Sunrise

Today’s workouts followed yesterday’s Sacred Rest Day. Time for spirit is a regular part of everything I do because it instills energy into mind and body. Simply, it allows me to get more out of the easy, endurance, and intensity work with the body, while maintaining a strong mind in order to support the consistent work. Being at peace and connected to spirit helps me explore aspects of mind and body that would otherwise go unnoticed or undiscovered. Today: * Run: endurance + intensity. * Strength conditioning. * Bike: endurance watts on the flats & climbing. Yesterday: * A sunrise

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Process

Unfolding

Ten trail runners were recently asked about the best advice they’d been given. What I find interesting is the common thread among their answers–to allow for process. Progression, unfolding, development, growth. These are characteristics of movement. Even rest–a type of stillness–is part of shifting that happens within the whole. An underlying message in each of the quotes below is integrity. We need downtime in which to allow energy to strengthen our mind and body. Creating space in my life for rest and reflection allows me to move more fluidly and with more intention and energy in the rest of my

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Keep Coming Back

Keep Coming Back

In twelve step programs, there is a saying, “Keep Coming Back”. For me it has to do with breaking down tasks, that feel too big to tackle, into increasingly smaller bits until the currently tiny piece feels doable. At that point it’s just a matter of completing that step. The key is to focus on the directly manageable task. Once it’s done then shift focus to the next bit. Eventually, what previously seemed insurmountable has been tackled, or at least an amount that may seem surprising with retrospection. The portions can get as small as needed. The smallest piece that

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Step by Step

Step by Step

For me, there is joy in the experience of each step as an expression. During my long run today, the focus was inward–feeling and connecting with the body and mechanics; looking for and exploring the boundaries of balance, stability, support, relaxation. I pictured myself running the double marathon on day three of #Ultraman. Energy bubbled up with regularity; thankfully, I was on the treadmill where my pace could be restrained, instead of running away with myself. During long sessions on the bike, in the pool, while running, or even when cleaning the house I’m easily tempted to be carried off

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Celebrate

Celebrate

It’s taken me a long time to learn the importance of doing things for the soul, rather than only challenging the limits of the body or mind. I’ve pushed myself. I’ve achieved. But I’ve also injured myself–and not just physically. Last year I exerted myself as an athlete harder than ever before. I succeeded, but I also crumbled beneath a heap of fried systems. The latter occurred because I didn’t listen. Whenever I don’t listen, nature has a way of using a bigger stick to deliver the message. Fortunately, I heard nature’s heavier footsteps before she needed to bring out

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