September 19, 2013

Severe Adaptation

While my last post spoke of quite serious things and comments have ranged from “typical post-holiday post” to “life changing information”, I wanted to talk about something I learned in the best way ie through forced acceptance, at CCC this year. I am going to call it Severe Adaptation.

I went from 2 weeks of almost zero riding and the 8 weeks preceding were around 350km per week of riding, to being thrown into 1400km of riding per week. Thats a 400% increase in volume, and even intensity was a little higher due to the nature of the climbs.

Whats the response on something like that?

What are the long term effects?

Firstly, lets take a step back and check the requirements to make that work. Let’s look at the environment it was achieved in and that is pretty much the critical success factor.

1. Do it in a group of like-minded people. Having 20 something others in the same bowl motivates you to swim, per se.

2. Remove external stress factors. Riding your bike 10 hours a day means you eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, sleep repeatedly. Major tasks for the day are washing your clothes and cleaning your bike and even those are optional to most.

3. Food was kept pretty simple. I ate gluten-free alongside Kristian 90% of the time, opting for the occasional bread treat, especially towards the end.

4. Sleep patterns were kept pretty strict. 10:30pm curfew for me and I stuck to it like peanut butter to a mohair carpet. That allowed me almost 8 hours of sleep per night and was one of the major reasons I got stronger as the week went on. I also did some active stretching and loosening before bed, each night.

So what happened?

My shift of normal was incredible. Some will remember me being 100% flat dead toast in my moer after a 7 hour ride here in CT. Dead to the world for 24 hours. After 4 days of riding, 9 hour rides became, dare I say it, trivial, as long as I kept the intensity down to AeT most of the ride.

I found a new level, something I didn’t know existed, in there somewhere and I wondered how to apply it to endurance events like Ironman, Cape Epic and the likes.

The 4 pillars above are the start. Now we start looking at the recovery and how long its going to take me to find my legs. I am running the Otter this weekend with no expectation to be fast, but with a definite readiness to be strong in the back half of the race.

After that, I need to pick some races, work on some light speed and then see how long I take to feel supremely bouncy again. So far this week my running has been slow, steady and I have felt great, but we wont know till Saturdays prologue how much real oomph is in there.

Keep you posted…

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