August 5, 2011

Think Outside the Box, but remember the Box Exists

How awesome (and I am trying to use that word less, but this warranted it) was that? If you look at the heading for the article today, that defines it perfectly.

I am always attempting to come up with smart ways to achieve that extra economy, in my life. I am happy to do the work, that much I know. But I also know that there are a couple hundred other guys out there who work as hard. So I have to play smart, and think outside the box as well. This means thinking of alternate ways of approaching:

1. Nutrition

I eat to stay healthy, to optimise recovery, to provide maximum energy and really, because I am a nut for flavor and texture. So while I eat wheat free 98% of the time due to the fact that I live with someone who has an allergy to wheat, wheat free was an option I already practised before we met. I also attempt to be as lactose and sugar free as possible. This is because if I can cut these out the majority of the time (not possible for me to cut it out all the time) I am able to train better and recover better. I also found I sleep better if I avoid these things and that I am a nicer person to be around when my energy supply is stable and I am not ratty running from one sugar high to another.

2. Recovery

I like my 8 hours of sleep. Without it, with the time constraints I have in my chosen life, I am less tolerant of people in general. I train better when I am in love with the world, quite simply. I feel more in touch with the surroundings when trail running when I am sleeping well and I am not mad at someone for something trivial because I am upset.

When I am sick, I am also less tolerant of other people’s problems as I am primarily concerned with my health and everything else becomes a second priority.

So sleep it vital for me and I am happy to compromise on other things to sleep enough. Tough choices that disappoint others, but hey, I am looking after myself.

I also like to maximise the first 30min after any hard session. I find this critical to recovering session-to-session, especially in a big block of work with 8 hours of work a day as well. This means:

Feet up for 10min – high up on the wall, lying on my back.
Get nutrition in – good nutrition – asap.
Stretch with my Grid for 10min to let the muscle recovery going.

Most of us just get home and eat, shower and keep moving. I have to include the 25-30min in my training time to allow appointments and commitments to happen on time, but it’s well worth doing this simple outside the box routine.

3. Injury prevention

Simple really in that building a strong body starts before you hit the trails or the road. The myofacial ball I use releases tight feet and lines before I head out the door, the Grid prevents injuries as it acts as self massage and a stretching tool as well as strengthening my core (vital for injury prevention).

Both are not items you would find in most triathletes homes.

I have tried to learn about the signs by body gives before an injury occurs and how to read those early. I don’t always get it right, but I am much better now than I used to be.

4. Optimizing training hours

Employing a coach this year has helped me structure training better, train smarter and around work hours which have crept up as the year has gone by. This leaves me with less and less time to do actual training as well as doing the right training. Nothing has done more for that than working with a coach who understands these time constraints.

We do some crazy things but they help with my goals, which simply, is to kick ass near the front of the race and enjoy my training. I try research workouts that are short but serve a powerful purpose as well, and recently added a workout from Kristian Manietta which is just under an hour on the IDT but adds a new dimension to the week as well. He left a comment in one of my earlier posts about Big Gear work. Smart guy, superb workout.


Anyway, the important thing to remember is to remember the box exists, full of your goals and small achievable items to tick off along the way. These items outside the box need to compliment those goals. So often we think too broad and too abstract and lose focus on the process and the end goals. Have a great weekend out there.

One Comment on “Think Outside the Box, but remember the Box Exists

August 20, 2014 at 6:08 pm

A good many vaallbues you’ve given me.


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