Tweet In an earlier post, I linked to an article on recovery-based training. Here is a more accessible version from the same swimming and triathlon coach and leading authority Wayne Goldsmith. At coaches’ infoservice, golfers will even find out how core stability training will get them driving further. Goldsmith highlights some of the complex variables […]

Tweet Five weeks ago, I was set to run the London Marathon. Training was back on track, my near-term target was last week’s Bath Half. Apart from a tentative run last Thursday, I did not train at all in the intervening period because of the most persistent virus I’ve encountered. As of now, the London […]

“It doesn’t hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me?”

Kate Bush clearly has never run up any of the hills in Bath. In fact, finding a hill with a gradual enough slope within jogging distance is a labour of Hercules itself.

But I did find one not too bad, except for the last 100 to 200 yards. On the third repetition, I’d developed a kind of athletic tourette’s, cursing the marathon. It was dark, and I still had not figured out how to programme the Polar RS800sd for such interval training, so there was no helpful beep to tell me when my heart rate had shot through the 170 bpm ceiling for the exercise and that I should slow down.

It was hill training I think that destroyed me when I last trained for the marathon in 2004-5.  I did too much, did not understand the process, and probably was wearing the wrong shoes. I overtrained and exhausted myself. And yet, it is probably one of the more valuable training exercises, because by pushing your heart-rate way up they say you start to experience neurological adaptation. That does interest me. At the end of the day though, it also is resulting in a crashing tiredness. We’ll see if tomorrow morning the Polar computer thinks I’m “Normal”. It was kind enough to wake me with those words of comfort the past two days.

Resting Heart Rate 46 bpm

Weight 71.5 kg

Mood :-)

Excercise energy consumed 514 kcal (10 mins, bike 36 mins hills 4 x 3 mins)

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Paul Simon has a good line for most occasions, although I don’t think he intended the ’59th Street Bridge Song’ to be about training. The temptation to over-exercise can be strong. Even those who find it hard get motivated to go out, like me, will naturally speed up once they warm up.

Today, I took the Polar RS800sd out for the second time. It beeps alot at you, but in a nice way. Today I used the “OwnZone” feature which measures heart rate variability as you warm up, then prescribes an appropriate training activity. When I exceeded the set heart rate limit, it told me to slow down.

It was surprising how frequently that happened. But, nevertheless, I sense that I am much more disciplined, and hopefully less at risk of injury or overtraining. Previously, I would have pushed it.

Resting Heart Rate 47 bpmWeight 71.5 kg

Mood :-) (looking for fun and feeling groovy)

Exercise Energy Consumed 763 kcal (54 mins steady run, 10 mins exercise bike)

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Although this blog’s initial raison d’etre is to chronicle my marathon preparations and issues that seem to touch on an injury-free progress to Apr 22, the wider purpose is to explore how to safely increase workload to a sustainable higher level. This is a major issue in our culture, given arguments about work-life balance, educational achievement, and even income inequality. Why can some succeed and others struggle? What can we do if we are among the also-rans – at least to improve our personal best?

There was a tragic case of a City lawyer reported last week, where the cause of death was attributed to a long-hours culture in so-called “magic-circle” law firms. Unfortunately, it is one of those cases where the reader is left with lots of suggestion but insufficient information to draw any fair conclusions. But that should not prevent us from asking hypothetical questions as to how we should work, and expect others we employ to behave.

An ability to sustain a high work-rate is implicit in much success, and is part of what David Shenk is documenting on his blog, The Genius in All of US. The assumption of what I’ve seen of this literature is that success in more complex careers or elite sport requires an appropriate support structure (family, friends, coaches, colleagues, teachers), and a work methodology that avoids exhaustion, burnout and injury. There are other factors of course, like a facility for understanding and taking risk, and resilience in the face of failure. But not all of us are likely to start out with those support structures, or have thought about how we establish them for ourselves or for others – whether family, friends, colleagues or employees.

Continue reading ‘undulating route to higher performance’

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