Monday, 10 December 2018

Gym time

With my last couple of events finished for the year, and the next events not being for weeks, today it was time for the inevitable, today it was time to return to the gym.

More and more science is pointing towards the benefits of a well designed gym program to all forms of exercise, including endurance sport. For power sports the benefit of strength training is obvious, however, it is a little less intuitive when it comes to endurance events.

I am not an expert on it (although I have friends who are close) but I think the benefits of incorporating weights into an endurance sports program are two fold. Firstly strength training helps in injury prevention. The less injured an athlete gets the more consistently they can train, which in turn leads to longer term performance improvements. Makes sense. The other trend that is starting to appear is that endurance athletes are seeing performance improvements through real 'power' type strength programs, high weight, low rep sort of stuff. This is the sort of strength training that traditionally endurance athletes have stayed away from, considering it to be unnecessary. However, as far as I understand there appears to be a correlation between maximum power output and running efficiency and, therefore, performance. As I said, I am not a strength and conditioning coach, but that is my understanding of it, based on chats with mates who are strength and conditioning coaches. Interesting stuff.

Anyway, whatever the reason, today it was time for me to get back in the gym.

As you can imagine it was not pain free.

Actually the gym session wasn't too bad. It has been a couple of weeks since my last gym session, but the time away doesn't seem to have done too much harm. I didn't have to lighten my weights too much and was able to make it through my planned sets. Of course the test will be how I feel in the morning and also how I feel on Wednesday morning. I already struggled to get up the stairs earlier tonight, so in the morning things may not be too pretty. I may revise my earlier view that the session didn't go too bad.

While the return to the gym was always going to be fairly unpleasant I am pretty sure that the longer term benefits will make it worth it.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Very Merry

Great day today. A bit of everything sort of day, busy but very enjoyable. Today included:

  • Some training
  • Some program writing
  • A children's Christmas party for my work
  • A Christmas concert that my daughter played in
As you can imagine, the day was pretty crammed full. Sort of standard at this time of year. Tiring but also awesome.

Things are definitely starting to get that end of year feel to them. I had a Christmas party last week, one this week and another next week, not to mention a plethora of other Christmas related events. This time of year it can be easy to start wishing that the things would calm down and you could simply sit and home for a little while, but as usual, once you get yourself out and going, the Christmas events are always fun. 

As well as all the parties, everything is starting to relax a bit more. There is less coaching going on, work feels like it isn't far from slowing down, school has a week to go, generally people are starting to relax. Life isn't quite in holiday mode yet, but it isn't far off I think. 

Of course as the world switches to Christmas holiday mode, it can be hard to maintain the motivation to train. It is the ultimate irony of Christmas, often you aren't working and so have much more time to train, but you are also very busy, so it is not uncommon for people to find themselves training less. 

Of course unless you are training for a race, I usually think that taking some down time during Christmas is not a bad idea. As I often speak about, having some off time during the season can be healthy and Christmas can be a great time to switch off from training and focus on family and loved ones for a while.

If you are trying to train through Christmas though, well that can be a bit of a challenge. I have done it a few times I have generally I found the trick to be getting out early and getting the session out of the way before you get caught up in Christmas activities that have a habit of lasting all day. This method isn't foolproof, but it worked for me, I am sure everybody has their own tricks for getting themselves out the door for training when there is Christmas celebrating to be done. If you can figure out a way to balance Christmas and training, then it can really be a great time to get in some awesome dedicated training. Thing about it as a chance for a very merry training camp. 

Saturday, 8 December 2018


Whoops I just realised that this post from last night didn't publish correctly. I blame a dodgy internet connection. Anyway, her you go, better late than never. Think of it as a 2 for 1 deal. 

Not much of a post tonight sorry. I didn't sleep particularly well last night and this has been an exceptionally long week and so I am quite happy to simply have made it this point in one piece. Sitting here in bed breathing a sigh of relief and typing this is a bit of a victory.

The other reason for my sigh of relief is that I had a race tonight (paddling race) which is the last race for quite some time (until January)
I am under the board

This longer break until the next race means that, like many of my athletes, I am going to be taking it easy on the exercise side of things for a couple of weeks. The last few months of training have been pretty intense and so I am definitely ready to take things back a notch, not working as hard and not having to dig up motivation quite as often. I am keen to keep training and working, but not quite yet, a bit of a break first, refresh the mind and the mental energy stores and then I will be ready to get on with some training again.

Sleep first though.