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March 5, 2009

Fatigue and the 80/20 rule

My athletes are all tired at the moment, but they are far from being out of their depth. They are all still nailing their key sessions and I sometimes wonder if it isnt a society thing, this “tiredness” that is all around me at the moment.

How many people a day do you speak to who are tired? If you move in Ironman circles, I suggest you hang out with people who arent so Ironman oriented all the time. One of my saving graces is my group of mates here in Cape Town, who are all completely non-triathlon orientated. They respect my commitment to the sport, but when we are together, we dont speak of Ironman all the time.

Hang out with an Ironman athlete group at the moment. I will pay you R100 everytime the conversation drifts OFF Ironman or its related tasks and management. I am quite confident I will go home with ALL my money. Ironman athletes are a special breed, and they go ALL in. Daring poker players at heart, they gear their whole lives around this task.

In October, November, December, my athletes are begging me for more miles, they feel fresh, undertrained, like they arent doing enough, etc… You get the vibe.

By the end of February, they are begging for mercy, sleep and time. Amazing how things change in just a few short weeks once the extra hours kick in. Lets call up the 80/20 theory. I have them on average at about 14-15 hours a week until 1 Jan, then we kick it up to about 18-19 hours a week. Thats only 20-25% more, but the effort required is huge. The extra sleep, preperation, stresses and food necessary to complete this extra 20% is far more than the 20% it represents.

So, tick for the rule again, this time in Ironman application.

Thats why its crucial with this 20% that your relationships, work, time management and nutrition are all semi outsourced. Make sure your loved one is taking care of arrangements for good food and preparing it. If you are single, cook up a storm once a week and have ready made good food for the week ready. Put designated time aside for your loved one, and especially, for yourself.

Couple examples:

1. Put a curfew of 9:30pm to your bed time. Regular sleep is the best recovery there is.
2. Ask your boy/girl/hubbie/wifey to cook while you prep bags and kit for the next day.
3. Create a movie night with your b/g/h/w – put a candle on, relax and even if you fall asleep, the effort counts.
4. Take a walk on the beach on a saturday afternoon with your b/g/h/w – its good recovery for you, and romantic time for you both!
5. Cook your lunches for the week on sunday. Time saved about 2 hours for the week!
6. Break your day down into hours and tasks that fit. Dont take on work you cant fit in there comfortably.

You get the vibe, right?

Recover, eat well, plan well. If you can do those 3, that 20% will be far closer to 20% than what it might seem right now.

Mad love.

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