November 10, 2008

Peach Jam

I would like to think that there isn’t a story like this and that I am taking the credit for creating this tale…

“There was once a man who made the best peach jam in the world. His jam was famous for its depth, colour and taste. He crafted it from normal peaches, but it was his method of creating the jam which led to his incredible result.

Along came a man with a bucket of the finest, ripest, best strawberries in the world and asked the peach man to make him strawberry jam, the finest in the world. The peach jam man said he could not make the jam for the strawberry man, as his formula worked only with peaches, and that he would more than likely ruin the strawberries if he applied the peach jam formula to them. He also told him he didn’t have the know how to make strawberry jam.

The strawberry man was devastated and used a popular, tried and tested peach jam method (substituting strawberries for peaches) and created his own jam. It was very average.”

Now, before you call the local authorities, I have to claim that this story came to me while on the bike (suprise suprise) yesterday riding with the Urban Angel. She is going through her first real, proper base phase as she prepares to tackle an Ironman next year. My good influence I hope. She is finding it really trying to keep going to slow, but she is still keeping the bigger picture in mind. Well done baby! Keep it up. You’ll only get faster. I guarantee you that you are going to surprise yourself.

Now, if you haven’t worked it out, Peaches are Endurance, and Strawberries are Speed. Marilu has a bucket full of the finest strawberries. Added to her ability to push herself to the point of collapse, she is a danger to herself when it comes to making Peach Jam (a great endurance base). She has to hold herself back in every session right now. She knows how to hammer with the best of them. But she has no real endurance base.

As a coach, I cant create the perfect peach jam from strawberries. I first need to make sure you have peaches to work with. I can coach speedy short distance athletes just as well as I can coach the Ironman guys and girls, but I cant turn you from 1 to the other overnight. Also, they don’t need to be perfect peaches, or in other words, I don’t need you to come to me with years of base in your body. I can help you create a well balanced base in around 12 weeks, but if you have the patience for it, or the willingness to push your ego into the cupboard for that time frame, is up to you. You have to have the base.

Without a base of good endurance at the right intensities, you can forget about ever reaching your potential. Unfortunately, endurance events demand that you spend time honing your skill. I am lucky enough to come from a swimming background, so I know all about spending time staring at the black line, all whilst creating an engine.

So, if you want to succeed at endurance events (over 5 hours), you need to be packing your basket full of peaches. My parameters for that are:

1. 10 hours a week of training at AeT minimum.
2. NO speedwork
3. Cutting sugars, alcohol and refined carbs as much as possible from your diet. This will get your metabolism up and your weight to optimum.
4. Regular sleep.
5. Planned recovery phases.

If you can put 12 weeks of good behaviour in those departments together, I guarantee you that you’ll have the right peaches to create some pretty awesome peach jam.

So, once we have those peaches, we can put in the key weeks which create peach jam. Peach Jam gives you that out of body raceday experience. I believe its normal, that when you have that day, you are just well prepared and that its not “racing above yourself”. You are merely doing your preparation justice. Without peaches, I guarantee you will never have a great day out there, feeling energetic and supercharged, smiling the whole way. You will always have excuses, and not be able to get over your problems on race day. A bucket full of strawberries on Ironman raceday spells that terrible 7 letter word….


So, who wants to comment?

PS: This theory works in reverse too…

3 Comments on “Peach Jam

Doc G
November 11, 2008 at 7:22 am

So Marilu and you are riding easy out to Chappies and soon to be cruising laps in the Sea Point pool. Very cool. It’s about to start snowing here 🙁

Health & Fitness
May 14, 2009 at 9:58 am

Great article – my pyramid keeps on collapsing because the base ain’t big enough!
In other words, strawberries aren’t as solid as peaches for the base…

Urban Ninja
May 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm

thats correct H&F!

read a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and the 10 000 hour principle, it will all make sense.


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