Evolution of Awareness

Coming Together[Exhale]

Here I am considering what I have been doing all along in my various training programs throughout my life.  There is so much to say and to share, I’m not really sure on where to start.  I’ll just start from the present and see where this takes me.  Basically, I feel like I am having an evolution of awareness in terms of my understanding when it comes to performance development in the discipline of athletics.  You see, track and field is a very specific, primarily individual, sport that requires much self-discipline and a completely refined physical structure.  Basically, if one thing goes wrong, in regards to an injury of sorts in the majority of cases, then the athlete will find it difficult to train and compete.  The frequency of this happening is high; thus, making it hard for track and field runners from generating enough financial support to fuel their world-class talent and skill.  So much can go wrong and the marketability costs versus the potential rewards isn’t enough for major across the board sponsorship opportunities.

It’s hard to express exactly what I am feeling at this very moment.  I’ll do my best to elucidate this feeling in the hopes that it will create an understanding of where track and field, with its myriad of scandals and problems, is at nowadays and a potential way to fix it.  By fix it, at this point, I’m going to only touch base on some issues that are dear to my heart.  For instance, focusing solely on fast times and distance.  Below I am going to share a video off my YouTube page that describes a little bit about what I am starting to change in my own personal training regimen:

As you can see, it’s aptly named, “Running for the thrill of it”.  Granted, elite world class athletes aren’t necessarily expected to change their training programs as many of these are tried and proven methods to success.  However, what I am pointing to is a deeper understanding of why train in the first place and the present prevalent mental model of time/distance with its laser focus burning away any true enjoyment and contentment many runners dearly need.  Look at it this way, there are soul surfers who, even if they compete, find total enjoyment in the waves and are still enjoying themselves when they can’t even get a wave on a flat day.  For me this is reflected in running when the time/distance mentality gets overbearing and becomes an obsession.  And to be frank, it’s most likely because the pros make money and need these times to win races and to get paid.  But herein lies the conundrum.  You have a system that is built off of this incessant need to refine the body to produce faster times from which a successful season means more income, but this very same approach increases the chance of injury which in turn makes the marketability of various non 1% athletes (e.g. Not the Usain Bolts, Mo Farahs) less desirable even though they are practically 1% of the world population.

Now, what am I getting at?  For me, track and field needs to be more about entertainment than fast FAST times.  The other day Nick Symmonds posted on twitter this tweet.  What if track and field were 2-3 hour events with high level competition in a venue that was fun and an atmosphere of pure entertainment focusing on winning not total output of speed.  In other words, while not disparaging the effort to break and make world records, these events could be properly marketed for maximum brand exposure and maximum financial support for elite athletes.  The point is, as beings living on this planet let us not lose sight of what’s important by getting lost in numbers.  It’s best said this way, “life is a journey to be enjoyed, not a problem to be solved in haste”.

This brings me to another video I recently shared on YouTube:

As of right now, I see the comprehensive training I am being taught at Fast Twitch South Miami as integral to an athlete’s success.  I’m sure I am the newbie here as I’ve relied heavily on my Chen Family Taijiquan training alone in terms of physical health, but I still feel the need to share in case there are others who are unaware of such vital strength and conditioning training.  Three key words I’ve heard there that best describes the methodology:  Stability, mobility and prehab.  Oh, and don’t think for one minute that it’s not hard, on the contrary, besides the strength and conditioning norm, their specificity can take a simple looking movement and make it dastardly hard (i.e. you question if you’re brave enough to continue LOL!).

With all of the above in mind, I think the salient point that keeps coming up for me is the process of trusting life and living life through the understanding that our future is not guaranteed and if we keep focusing and obsessing on that big race or that big goal then we miss so much of the good stuff that is passing us by.  Moreover, because of this approach I really do believe that the present marketability of runners is a consequence of this attitude and the only way to change that is to change our perception as we are co-creators of reality with the ability to shape and influence life.  Do we want to create a life full of joy and contentment or a life of grim determination?  The choice is ours and then the outside world will reflect back for us what we have chosen.  Pretty simple if you ask me! 🙂

 

Focus on the Solution

 

Waking up this morning to torrential rain down here in tropical South Florida, and after a week of intense training sessions that left one of my hips tight and stiff, I decided to feel my day out leaving the training program to a decision made later on.  I had planned for an easy 5 mile run barefoot on grass at the beginning of the week, but with the rain and the way my body was feeling it was better that I approached today’s session with wisdom.

As the day progressed, and one thing came up after the other, swimming sounded like the best option.  I grabbed my goggles and headed to the pool for a relaxing easy swim for an hour.  About 7 laps in I noticed my eldest fidgeting with his goggles so I stopped to help him.  After adjusting them I grabbed mine and went to put them on when, SNAP!, they broke.

Broken Goggles

My first reaction was an expletive I’d rather not write down. ssssss  The next reaction was playing the blame game like, “why did my eldest get in the way”, “if I only was able to keep swimming without interruptions”, and more blah like that.  As I started to shift the focus towards a solution in terms of what will I do instead, “shall I just run later”, “borrow my son’s goggles”, “go home to get a snorkeling mask”, or “just stop swimming all together”, as it was just not my day; through all this I searched my feelings and decided upon doing some breaststroke without immersing my head under water.  After a few laps this was not doing it for me.  At that moment, side stroke came up for me and as soon as I started down to the other side of the pool I realized why I never thought of this before as the scissor kick in side stroke is so reminiscent of a running stride, for swimming related strokes that is; it’s a perfect way to loosen up tired muscles and joints as well as getting the blood flowing with water resistance.  Side StrokeWith the freestyle stroke’s flutter kick, I mostly use my arms for distance swimming primarily working a part of my body that isn’t going to assist with me being a better runner.  And, even if I kicked hard all the time, it still won’t simulate a runner’s gait.  I know the cardiovascular benefits are there, but the development of sport specific adaptations are not.  Now, if you have an underwater treadmill, awesome, but for the majority of people who don’t have access to one or can afford it, the side stroke is a great addition to a runner’s program.  I have also used the water belt that keeps you afloat, but I dislike how my legs don’t feel anchored not being able to grab onto anything.

Putting everything into perspective, it’s never a wise course of action to stay focused on a problem, as soon as one arises shift the focus towards solutions and search your feelings during these moments as one of the solutions will be the best fit.  We are all given everything we need in life as all our challenges can be handled, just be open to the opportunities that are presented by letting your spirit flow free and clear.

Until next time!

 

 

The Easy Run

 

Dear lovely readers and fellow runners, today I am going to cover a very important aspect of ones training routine: the easy run.  I feel inspired to cover this topic as I just ran my best and most enjoyable easy run (or run in general) ever.  Not to say that I haven’t enjoyed efforts in the past or appreciated the accomplishments from hard work after the fact, it’s just that today during this barefoot, on soft grass, 5 mile 9:48 pace I was in such a lovely groove that I now truly understand why this time spent running easily is so important.

In the first place, aside from the fact that many runners are looking for better times and more accomplishments, we initially started running since this activity is so primal it brings us back to an element of our self that is easily overlooked in our modern society (i.e. when we were little kids we ran because we could).  It’s like mini rewilding vacations even though one may be surrounded by a concrete jungle.  For a human being, nothing is purer than running.  So, the easy run is just that, a time to return to our natural roots free from the bondage of modern life without the need to conquer any goal – it’s running for the sake of running.

Furthermore, and in regards to a run training program, the easy run allows our body to recover from the harder efforts all the while still prompting the body to understand that it will need to continue making adaptations to endure the stress from running.  This means, we will give it the opportunity to get stronger and faster without over doing the stress level.  And if you’re a runner you know full well what over doing causes, no need to explain that.

Along with both of these points, an easy run is a great way to refresh your running drive, that deep seated passion to push the limits of our bodies and see what we are capable of.

The point is, take time to love your self and respect your body with these easy runs.  Trust me, you will enjoy it to the fullest and feel refreshed and ready for your next hard efforts.

I love this statement, “make haste slowly”.  An apt way to express how to develop running longevity.

Strength & Conditioning

Side Jumps

By the time I reached this drill I had already done:

  1. Knee Skips
  2. Step Ups
  3. Squat Jumps
  4. Fast Step Ups
  5. Skaters
  6. Side Jumps ————>

All at 3×30 second reps with 30 second rest in between reps and drills.  I followed side jumps with: fastturnovers

  1. Frog Hops
  2. Fast Turn Overs ————->
  3. Bulgarian Squats
  4. Planks

I did the first 3 with the same program as above and the planks are done 1 minute standard, diamond and preacher and then 30 second for each side plank with 1 minute rest in between plank sets.  It was a great workout and one that had me fighting to continue after the side jumps.  It felt good to push again at this level and I’m starting to really notice how my conditioning has improved with gradual and conscious steps towards higher fitness levels.

Even though I was beat after the above circuit I proceeded to do 10 strides Stridesbarefoot.  I did these as cool down and as feeling runs.  I was searching for a smooth ride and soft touch.  All in all, this was a great training session on Thursday and I’m stoked to be doing what I love!

Note:

Don’t ever stop doing what you love, if you fall, get back up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse.  The only failure in life is the failure to continue the fight towards achieving your dream.

En Joy! 🙂

 

 

Weights, Sprint 8’s and Yogurt Parfaits

Sprint8s on Elliptical

 

After doing an assortment of chest, triceps and shoulder lifts (core always at the end) I ended my gym work with sprint 8’s on the elliptical.  If you don’t know about these then you are missing out.  Oh, how I love AND hate them.  It’s never a dull workout when you include it.  I mentioned them in a previous post and linked to the creator’s, Phil Campbell, demo of how, why and when you should do them.  Not to scare anyone, but you should really consult with a doctor before engaging in these.  I know, I know, they say that for any workout routine, Sweaty Bettybut sometimes that is just straight ridiculous as walking in a mall could be considered a workout routine and I don’t see anyone needing approval for that. LOL  However, these, if done right, will leave you worn out by the eighth one and if you aren’t prepared then….who knows!  Just look at me after I finished all eight.  Take your time when it comes to building conditioning and don’t jump into things that are way above your fitness level.  It’s like the signs at North Shore, Oahu, around pipeline area, “when in doubt, don’t go out”.  Pushing past your present fitness level is good and it’s the way to build new and improved physical adaptations, but overdoing it can cause an assortment of issues that are unnecessary if we just learn to listen to our bodies.

 

Following my training session I take a protein mixture and sometimes (depending upon the intensity and duration of my session) mix it with C2O coconut waterRecovery DrinkThrough research and discovery, sports scientists have determined that for optimum nutrient uptake for cellular repair (i.e. recovery: better and stronger physical adaptations) there is a 30 minute window post training session.  I figure most people know this, but in case you don’t – there you have it.  Also, please query it online and find the various ratios of protein:carb combos that work best for you and your particular activity.  I think it’s pretty standard in a general sense across the board.

I felt so refreshed after that recovery drink that instead of driving to the post office I decided to walk.  It’s about a mile and a half away, so a total of 3 miles of steady walking was extemporaneously added to my daily training log.  Though I had this recovery drink and then followed it by a sandwich and popcorn for lunch, I felt like I needed another snack after I returned to maintain a caloric balance.  I had yogurt parfaita homemade yogurt parfait.  So easy to make and enjoy I wonder why people even buy these pre-made to begin with.  Once you mix the different parts of the parfait you have to either add unhealthy preservatives or eat it quickly.  This makes making it the preferred choice for health conscious individuals.  A fresh pineapple was cut, organic raisins were used in addition to shelled walnuts, raw honey and, of course, organic plain unsweetened yogurt.  Its unfortunate that all they had was the low-fat variety at the time I purchased it.  I prefer whole fat for all my dairy products and now science is vindicating all those who didn’t fall for the low/no fat health fad.

Happy Trails!  🙂

A Complete Training Day

 

The weather was lovely today, a bit hot for my liking.  It seems like winter has fled Southern Florida and we skipped spring for summer. LOL I’m crossing my fingers for a few more “winter” like days here.

My training program this day consisted of strength and conditioning for my legs and then after lunch I returned to do some swimming, sprint eights via 50yrd freestyle sprints and 50yrd breaststroke for recovery.  This is a tremendous anaerobic workout and each time I do it the intensity is rough, to say the least.  And that’s why I love it!  Considering that each 30 second exertion must be done at 95-100% intensity level, one can understand that by number 4 the remaining speed efforts are will and belief alone.  With only 1:30 for recovery between sets, this is a great engine building exercise without putting stress on the legs as a running workout would.  I also enjoy sprint 8’s on the elliptical and do it this way once or twice a week depending on my need to swim more or not.

SwimmingwfinsAfter my sprint 8 work, and for cool-down, I did kicking with my fins to loosen my leg muscles, in particular my lower leg muscles.  It feels really good to cross train in this way.  I think this type of kicking and the breaststroke kick would assist runners dealing with runner’s knee.  The fluid movements in the water help greatly relax the knee and allow it to open up to a more natural position we all had when we were young children.

Relaxed and ready, this is next…

Round and round we go...

Round and round we go…

I remember these times.  So much energy and vibrancy.  I’ve seen my boys slide directly onto their knees while in play.  Oh the pain!  I feel we need a balance as adults.  Returning to this type of life outlook with the wisdom that comes with aged experiences.  These young beings are so free and open to life with gusto while we stomp around pompously and self-importantly.  At playgrounds alone kids show us how to live and connect.  They’ll find a peer and simply ask, “will you be my friend or lets play?”  Its wonderful! Where, as adults, did we lose this aspect of ourselves?

I must say, tonight’s dinner was fantastic, thanks love!

Chicken with sauteed onions and tomatoes, fried rice, kidney beans and a Florida avocado.

Chicken with sauteed onions and tomatoes, fried rice, kidney beans and a Florida avocado.

I am not a calorie counter and for someone who trains as much as I do one would expect an eight pack, etc.  Nah, I’m au naturale and I enjoy eating so much I don’t see the point on counting calories.  I don’t plan on being a super ripped body builder and I am happy with how I look.  Using the word diet for a weight loss program is silly.  Diet just consists of our eating habits primarily based on our cultural experience.  One person’s diet may be right for them and wrong for another person (e.g. imagine eating like the Inuit people).  Find what’s right for you and enjoy it.  Denial and avoidance is the path to indulgence.

Now I’m not sure I should follow that last sentence with what I ate for dessert.  LOL

Homemade oatmeal bites with organic milk

Homemade oatmeal bites with organic milk

There were four of them to begin with, but one of my challenges in life is to NOT eat food once put in front of me.  Oh I SOOO want to dig in asap.  LOL I’ve found myself literally reaching for a succulent morsel and snatching my hand back in dismay – discreetly of course – as it would have been an inappropriate thing to do at the time.  I’m getting better and learning to be stronger in this respect of my life.  Hey, no body is perfect and each and every one of us has a shortcoming needing to be explored and used constructively.  More on that later. 😉

 

En joy! 🙂