03 March 2011

Train, train, train

I keep busy

This is a quick description of my lifestyle on paper:

Sleep, eat, workout, swim, eat, work, walk the dog, eat, work, ride, sleep, eat, PT, work, eat, ride, stretch, eat, sleep, eat, work, swim, eat, massage, work, eat, ride, stretch, walk the dog, snowshoe, sleep, workout, stretch, eat, work, eat, ride, eat, sleep .... there seems to be a pattern here. I eat a lot!

My nephew Kenny (the Professional Triathlete) can rattle off the exact calories in every item he consumes. I cannot. I can tell you a lemon bar from the Wooden Spoon Bakery costs $2.50, and my favorite Cafe Viennese at Kaladi Coffee Shop is $3.50. My nephew can also tell you exactly how many meters he swam in the pool and which stroke. I get in the pool and get out 35 minutes later. I haven't a clue how far I swam, but the guys in the lanes next to me like to 'race' me so I think I am swimming well enough.

The biggest challenge of my week occurs when my "training schedule" tells me to do Z1 to Z4 for 15 minutes/interval of Z4 45 minutes, 4 x 6 minutes in the 3 zone (2 minute recoveries), with one leg doing 90% of something or other. This is mind boggling stuff for me. I read these workouts 4 times trying to grasp exactly what I need to do and when. In fact I probably spend more time trying to interpret, plan and then record my workouts, then actually doing them. As I praised my brother this afternoon for his 60 mile bike ride he completed yesterday, I teased, "the best way to ride 60 miles is to ride out 30 miles, and then have to get yourself back home". Period. That is my kind of training. It's called survival.

Every year I think I can change my extreme mountain personality-type into a legitimate cyclist type. Every year I fail. In mountaineering it is routine to save 45% of your energy to get yourself back down the mountain. That concept is easy for me - survival. I've realized what I mostly lack in the sport of cycling is the ability to count while working out. It takes all of my deep concentration to repeatedly count to 12 when doing my strength exercises. While on the bike I tend to look at the flowers and the passing clouds rather than monitoring my watts meter. And when I finish all I know is I went up, I went down, and I rode for 1.5 hours, or was it 4 hours. If left to my own accord I wouldn't have a clue how far I went, much less my HR, RPMs or GPS coordinates.

I understand a training schedule is designed to help me become more efficient and train my body to perform at a higher level, but I have a built in check for all of that - it's called pain. When I am not pained, I am trained. And that happens sometime in July, every year, no matter if I ski or ride all winter; July is the month it all comes together for me.

Even so, I am trying my best to follow my set "training schedule" this year. I want to achieve my modest lofty cycling goals this summer. I have no problem going out and exercising every day (although I find rest days annoying because it is hard to do nothing), but if I am successful in counting and recording my workouts over the next 4 months, then wow, I will truly feel that I have grown as an athlete and as a person.

In the end the side-affects might be that I successfully complete the Double Triple Bypass and clock a good time at Levi's GranFondo, but if I can confidently tick off a 4x6 in zone 3 and think nothing of it - well, that will be the real payoff! Then I can place my concentration on more important things like  

What's to eat.

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint Exupery