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July 18, 2008

Yoga la Vida.

I`ve had quite a busy week and been on the de-tox after being sick and eating badly next week and its amazing how the body reacts. Apart from doing Power Yoga in a 40deg celcius room to loosen the hips and get some heat training in for Kona, I`ve also cleaned my diet out and upped the water intake. My skin looks like a 13 year old boys` who`s just learnt the fine art of “Frenching your girlfriend”

awesome.

Whilst I`m sweating like a Siberian bushpig in downtown Calcutta at Yoga Zone I have had some interesting breakthoughs (some quite hiliarious) :

1. Dont sweat the small stuff. Excuse the pun. I am not a yoga master of sorts, even though there are people in my class who can bend like putty. Whilst my ego wants to be better than everyone, I realise that they have their skills and I have mine, and together, only by quitting the need to be better at them at THEIR skill, will we get along harmoniously. In turn, they might appreciate my ability to run at the end of an Ironman with a smile on my face.
2. Girls are different to boys. As I dare look around the class mid-downward-dog I realise that girls are inherently more flexible than guys, even if they arent stronger, they are always able to get into the positions with more ease. Men are the foundation, and women are the stuff that flexes and fills the foundation.
3. I sweat alot more than I thought possible.
4. Small steps get to the end result alot faster. I can try get into the full position of the Crow, the Gorilla or the Quasi-footed-cathairbearded-saskwatch but I find taking it slower with small continuous improvements (a principle called Kaizen) makes me happier and gets me there faster.

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I`ve been quite tired this week as well, lots of stuff going on and decisions to make and people to see and the normal stuff if you want to be an Urban Ninja, so I checked our Gordo`s blog for the week and ta-da! The man was on the money again.

check out what he wrote…

Q. What is the #1 killer of athletic success in training?
A. Fatigue.

I have been working with athletes for ten years now and the greatest challenge that we face is managing fatigue. Athletes that successfully manage fatigue are more consistent with their training (and happier) thereby increasing their ultimate athletic success.

Here are some tips for improving how you manage fatigue.

Chasing Fitness – Chasing fitness happens when you sit down and calculate the “fitness” required to meet an athletic goal. You then train at your goal fitness level, rather than your current fitness level. We do this in a lot of different ways – solo athletes, do this by chasing Personal Bests in workouts; group training athletes, do this by seeking to “win” workouts with “faster” athletes.

My experience is the best training partners are slightly weaker physically, stronger mentally and very fun to be around. You then let the group dynamics lift your fitness.

As for the effect on your training partner… remember that most of your competition isn’t consciously seeking their personal best, they are controlled by moment-to-moment emotions.

Chasing Averages – I’ve nuked myself a few times with this approach, most recently last week. Here is how it works… you sit down with a recent lab test, or race result. The data is “real” so you have confidence that it will provide a reasonable benchmark to what you should do. You then pull out the exercise physiology textbooks and calculate the precise intensity that you should hold for the workout. Then, for an unexplained reason, you add 5-10% to the intensity and 10-20% to the duration! Fortunately, I cracked fairly early in that workout!

Another word on why averages are misleading. Have another look at the chart above. The average of that ride was 253w. About 6% of that ride was less than 100w but less than 2% of the ride was greater than 400w. With heart rates/power/pace, there are always more very low values than very high values. The longer, and more variable, the workout the greater this effect. As well, my brain always seems to “normalize high”. If you ask me to guess the average power of an effort that I just completed (when I watched the screen a lot), I am nearly always 5-10% too high.

What does this mean?

A – If your goal effort is 180-190w then you’ll probably average ~175w if you execute correctly.

B – If you set your powermeter on “average watts” and try to hit a number then the majority of your ride will be well over that number and you’ll fail to notice (highly costly) power spikes.

No Man’s Land Training – A fit athlete will have the capacity to train every session a little bit “too hard”. Taking the three main physiological markers, AeT/LT/FT, the mid points between each of these, should be avoided, with particular attention being paid to the mid-point between AeT and LT. There is a big increase in recovery requirement (and hardly any training benefit) from training slightly over these points, as opposed to slightly under. See the attachment from last week for more info.

NOTE – intensity moderation is easier to apply to others than ourselves! Having a coach review workout files (post fact) can help you stay sane.

The final three points are sleep, life stress and nutrition (including drug/alcohol use). These are huge in terms of their impact on the amount of fatigue we carry around in our lives.

Sleep – an extra hour of sleep, every night.

Life Stress – consciously choosing to do less, in order to achieve more.

Nutrition – eat real food.

The more simple you can make your life, the greater the chance that you will be able to execute successfully.

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If that sounds too technical for you, go get some sleep! For the rest of you, food for thoughts for the weekend!

Ciao. Raoul

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