July 18, 2013

Going deep

I am currently trying to do something new, risky and at moments, a little silly. I am doing a massive block of work in a very short space of time to “kick-start” the engine before I head off overseas. It’s tricky because it requires a lot of awareness of my body and the subtle signs that are telling me that injury is not on the horizon, but imminent. Fatigue is not just fatigue and there are various types – some good, some bad.

It’s fun for me.

These limits and managing them. Where do you give? How much do you give?

Currently I am 90% certain I will not make a race this weekend because of a R5 coin sized blister on my right foot which means I have not run for 4 days. It’s frustrating because I was looking forward to another big trail run.

Instead, we’ll go deep and try to ride 4000m of vertical gain on a ride on Saturday in prep for CCC.

The aim is to keep the foot on the gas for the next few weeks, but just enough to not make the car break down. It’s a tricky one to get right and I am putting all my years’ experience into this. Complete overload is not a schedule I would recommend to anyone lightly but it is something that works really well in the following scenarios:

– You’ve built up to it with solid weeks of training for a few months before.
– You’ve in the past done similar efforts, albeit smaller in size.
– You can control your social schedule and commitments for a few weeks and cut some people and things out for a while.

These are traits I learned as someone who prepped for Ironman success a few years ago. I went monk after a bad break-up and buried myself into weekends of big work and weeks of “blinkers on”. While looking back has me smiling in that I could likely have done it all a little differently, the experience over that winter did teach me a thing or two about overload.

So what is this article all about? Ive gotten 350 words in and what am I actually trying to say?

Why should you care?

All relevant questions. All with answers that work just for you. I want you to know that:

– Overload can be hugely successful.
– Not knowing what to look out for can break you down and cost you an entire season if you don’t read the signs.
– Only you can learn to recognise the signs.
– Getting the blinkers on can be a good thing.
– And a bad thing.

If you want to try something like this, and by going deep, I mean a sudden 100% increase in volume, then remember the following things:

– Eating is recovery
– Sleep is mandatory, not optional
– Cut the social commitments for a few weeks
– Explain to your loved ones that you are going to be tired and grumpy. But a better person, eventually.

Have a superb day!

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