Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summertime Happiness

I have no idea what Lena Del Ray was talking about, but summertime sadness does not exist. As of last Friday, I am a free man. No more class prep, grading, pesky kids, or parent-teacher conferences for two whole months, which means I will not have a lot of time on my hands. To me, more free time means more training time. Since the first time since college, I will be able to focus on nothing but training, eating, and sleeping without having to rush a workout to get to work. So what do I have planned? Like a kid on Summer Break, a bunch!

This will be a great time to focus on the things I have neglected because I do not have enough time during the school year. I will be able to focus not only on training more but more importantly on recovery with extra sleep, stretching, foam rolling, and meditation exercises (like yoga, journaling, etc). Although I would say that I have successfully adapted to waking up at 2am to swim, sleeping in a bit will be nice. As I have said before there is no point in training like a pro if you cannot recover like a pro. But what does training like a pro mean?

That is a hard question to answer since all the pros train differently because, well, their bodies are different. Some thrive on 15 hours a week while other push the limits of 25-35 hours. It all depends on injury tendency, years in the sport, sport specific strengths/weaknesses, and other commitments. Both strategies obviously work for them; they are professionals for goodness sake and wouldn't be if they did not know how their bodies work and what training works best for them.

In my personal dictionary, "training like a pro" means focusing 100% on training and recovery without other significant job/life obligations. This definition obviously differs from pro to pro and athlete to athlete, I encourage you to define it yourself.

For me this summer, my training will look like this:
  • Training 20-30hrs a week (what this breaks down to in swim/bike/run/strength hours, intensity, and sleep we will find out) with a recovery week or half week thrown in periodically. This is where my coach comes in. She knows her stuff and I trust her 100%, which means I do not have to worry too much about tearing myself apart. She reads my data like a NASA scientist and knows exactly when the red lights start to flash even a day before my body registers it. 
  • Doing at least 2hrs of strength a week
  • Sleeping 8+ hrs a night and a daily nap 
  • 20-30 minutes a day of mobility, stretching, and core strength
While having so much free time is nice, I do like constancy and structure; I thrive on it. Free time is dangerous for me both mentally and physically. When I have large unstructured blocks my mind begins to chatter and usually begins to drift towards negativity, so I need to create a schedule. As my father always said: "Idle hands are the devil's playground." (Fits with him being a minister and brought up in Dutch tradition).

Now this does not mean that I am trying to cover up fears, doubts, and problems with mindless activities; I am not running away from anything. Rather, I am tackling goals and task head on by setting out blocks of times to do one activity and focus just on that including meditation, self-analysis, and improvement.

Here is what my schedule will look like:
  • 4am: Wake up, coffee, and train 
  • 7am: Stretch and foam roll followed by breakfast
  • 8-11: Blog and write, more coffee
  • 11ish: Lunch followed by a nap
  • 2:30: Train again, core work, and more stretching, recovery snack 
  • Random activity having nothing to do with health, fitness, triathlon, or anything else
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • Bed
This will obviously change from day to day depending on what my coach has me doing, but this will at least give me an outline to follow. Note that I included time to completely get my mind off training at least for a little bit. This is important so that I do not burn out.

In my next blog I am going to be talking about goal setting which is important to take into consideration for goal setting, so stay posted.

Now, onto my summer plans (this is an update for family and friends so feel free go back to work now):

First off, I will be spending the rest of June in the Devil's bum hole also known as Phoenix. Training will be done in the early morning and late night to keep out of the heat of the day which will be a nice and toasty 100+ degrees. I have a three week build that will be concluded with VO2 max test on the trainer and treadmill as well as another DEXA scan. I had this done back in January (74 ml/(kg*min))  and March (7.6% BF) respectively so it should be interesting to see my numbers again after some good, quality volume.

 I will then be traveling to San Diego for three weeks where I will be doing another training block partially under the guidance of my coach and hopefully with my other Wattie teammates. I am looking forward to some cooler weather, open water ocean swims, and adjusting to California life.

After some "California love," I am returning to my roots back east and flying to DC then driving up with my Momma Bear to Mount Desert Island, ME, paradise on earth especially for an athlete. I spent my summer months there as a child, and I try to return every summer to recharge my batteries. Being on the boarder of Acadia National Park, it has some of the best running trails (crushed, gravel bridal paths). While I will be renting a bike and will have access to the ocean, I will be focusing on my run and there is no better place to. A wonderful place to get in touch with my "Chi" on top of a mountain looking over the Ocean after running up Cadillac mountain.

I then fly back to DC for two hours then back to Cali, where I will pack up my bike and fly to Bend for an epic Wattie Camp sponsored by 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Speedfil, Herbalife, ISM saddles, and coached by none other than Flannigan and Black Dragon Coaching, a bad ass if there ever was one. After I have HTFU and been whipped into Wattie ink. shape, I am "going back to Cali" for two more weeks then on to LA LA land to prep for my new job--a math teaching position at a private school in Hollywood.

Yes I know this is another move--the third in 2 years, but hopefully this will be the last one for a long time. Moving has taken a big toll on my training because I thrive on consistency and little stress. Fortunately this move is going to be a breeze compared my others because of my significantly decreased wardrobe and amount of stuff.

Welcome to the next episode....

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