Friday, 23 February 2018

To the limit

A bit of a sufferfest down at the Claremont SwimSmooth squad this morning, I am not sure us coaches were the most popular people at the pool afterwards.

The Friday morning sessions are all about Threshold word, shortish efforts done fast without a heap of rest, that is often a combination for unpleasantness. The session this morning was no exception to that.

The threshold sessions that we do at SwimSmooth tend to lean one way or another, sometimes they are a bit quicker with a bit more rest and sometimes they are a little slower, but you get very little rest. Today's session was the later. In fact the level of rest that people were getting today is what I would classify as extreme, around 5 seconds per 100m, 2 or 3 seconds for a 50. Tight. If you were a little bit off the pace then the rest got very small, very fast.

Of course, when it comes to coaching the session it is a fine balance. The intent of the session is that people don't get much rest, however, you want people to still be able to do the session. There isn't a lot of point to the session if people get no rest and it becomes one long continuous swim. Sometimes this balance means pushing people along a little, sometimes it means re-arranging the lane to keep it on the boil and sometimes it means just giving people a break and slowing down their target times. I think I gave all three of those things a go today. While the session was a struggle both in the pool and on the pool deck we all got through. I am not sure if there were many people saying how much they enjoyed the session afterwards, but I think most of them appreciated the solidness of the workout. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and all that.

Plus there was a very pretty sunrise.


While the session was a good one this morning, it was a little bit quiet down the pool today. No great mystery as to why though, tomorrow is the annual Rottnest Channel Swim.

While I have no real desire to ever do the Rottnest Swim it is an event that I always follow with great interest. For one it is a great race and an impressive physical challenge, that in itself makes it worth paying attention too. Also I usually have lots of friends taking part (this year is no different) and so I always love tracking the race to see how they all do. The last reason to watch it is because it is always so unpredictable, you never quite know what is going to happen, what conditions are going to show up, who is going to have a good day or a bad day etc. In fact that unpredictability is one of my favourite aspects of the event. Getting to the finish line is always a massive achieve, however, every year there are always a few people who absolutely blitz the event to the surprise of themselves and others. Hearing these stories is always one of my favourite parts of the day.

Whatever happens, tomorrow is going to be a big day for a lot of people.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Exercise Day

A good bit of exercise today. Actually one of the better bits of exercise I have done for quite some time.

This morning it was bike time with a nice 50km spin with the Front Runner squad. The session was a nice spin around the river with the group. It is the first river loop I have ridden for months and I have to say it was quite lovely. The group was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of pace, but all the same everyone still managed to have a great morning out as well as a really solid session. Great to be out spending the morning on a bike again.

This afternoon was a bit of a long one, it started off with a run and then finished off watching the Stadium Triathlon Club track session. The run was another good step in the right direction, a bit longer and a bit further than I have done for a while which I was very happy to see. The first run over 8km since I started running again a few weeks ago. Not a lot of miles I admit but a step closer to running for 10km again, which will be another step towards running for an hour. Small but manageable goals, one step at a time. As everyone says, you eat an elephant by taking one bite at a time. Goals are achieved one step at a time.

As mentioned, the other part of the afternoon was watching the Stadium Triathlon Club track session. From next Thursday I am going to be coaching the track session for the club and so the last two weeks I have been going down there to see what the session is all about. This afternoon's session was another good chance to see what the squad gets up to and get to know them a bit more. I still have a ways to go in getting to know everyone, but hopefully I am now in a good position to be able to take over the session and continue the high quality training that the squad has been used to. Should be an exciting new chapter starting next week.

All up though it was great to get through a couple of exercise sessions in one day again. I do like being fit and while I still would not call myself particularly fit, it is good to be improving and to be fit enough again to be doing the exercise that I enjoy.

Looking forward to further progress.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Choose Life

I got a frustrating bout of reality today.

It has been one of those days where I just haven't been able to get out for exercise. I was coaching down the pool this morning and then I was in an all day meeting which meant no gym. I was okay with all those restrictions though because I was determined to get on the bike tonight. However, once I was home from work the reality of life set in as I saw the endless list of tasks that sat between me and the bike and eventually bed. It was one of those circumstances where I could have forced it and got on the bike, but it simply wouldn't have been a good idea, most likely resulting in a stressful evening followed by insufficient sleep and then a tired day tomorrow. One of those frustrating times where the obvious smart choice isn't the one you want to make.

Still, deep down I know it was the right call. I am not exercising for anything in particular at the moment, other than getting fitter, and so missing one session in the interest of making life easier isn't actually a big deal. In fact, in this case it really was the right thing to do. As frustrating as those choices are for athletes, they do happen. Training consistently is very important and you don't want to give yourself excuses to skip sessions, but some days you simply can't deny the fact that not training like you want is the way things need to go.

So what do you do in those situations?

Well, you can get annoyed and frustrated, take it out on those around you and perhaps even try to cram the missed session into your life over the coming days.

Or....

You can get over it and yourself, accept that things are they way they have to be and get on with your life. Saving your energy for focusing on another session on another day.

Guess which is the smarter option?

In the bigger picture that one session isn't going to derail a season from a fitness perspective (as long as it really is the occasional session). However, missing a session when necessary can make a big difference to the health of your life, whether it is missed for family, or work or some other reason. If cramming that session in is going to do more harm to your overall health (taking account both mental and physical) then perhaps missing it is the best course of action.

Of course knowing that and accepting it are two very different things. Something I am finding right at this very moment in fact.