Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gray Day

The title of my blog, Fast at Forty, still holds veracity. I firmly believe, at age 41, there are best times in a variety of distances in my future; and, I know that many of the over forty crowd can make improvements in their racing. I am far more knowledgeable about training and recovery than when I was in my 30’s. I know that I can delay the onset of muscle degradation inevitable with age by working out diligently in the gym. Incorporating intervals into my training will slow down the demise of my VO2max and lactate threshold. The years of training have given me an incredible aerobic engine and the ability to race smart.

But, here’s the rub. Nothing will make you feel old faster than gray hair. Yep. I found a colony nesting atop my head. These uninvited guests have made me realize that, holy crap, I am 41! Where did these intruders come from? They seem to have popped up overnight, mocking me as I stare incredulously at my reflection in the mirror. Some will say that gray hair is very distinguished. Whatever.

Fortunately, these ugly strays blend better in my shade of dirty blonde than a dark brown or black. For now, they are fairly well hidden, as they are well outnumbered by the non-gray. Although, since I am airing my dirty laundry, I will know who my readers are, as I will see them squinting at my head, looking oh-so casual, as they try to pick out the unwanted strands.

I realize that there are “techniques” to hide the infestation. Since I already use these “techniques” to brighten my curly mane, the aforementioned gray hairs have managed to infiltrate the system. Damn. I have to up my game. And, WTF, why are these hairs straight when the rest of my hair is an afro?

I have been able to delay the onset of aging in terms of athletic performance. Mother Nature, or genetics, bested me in the hair department. I am dreading the day I wake up and find the grays have moved south.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Time for Change

The triathlon season is winding down. This is a perfect time to reflect on goals attained, missed opportunities, the fun, the grind. Most importantly, the break from the normal regime is a chance to ask yourself this question:  What next?

I find that athletes often get stuck in a rut. Why?
  • They do not vary their training.
  • They do the same races every year.
  • They train with the same people.
  • They make the same mistakes.
  • They train too hard or train too easy.
  • They do not stick to a plan.
Now is the time to break out of the “sameness” and try something new, something that will progress you to the next level. Athletes are afraid of change. Routine is like a security blanket that athletes are unwilling to part with, no matter how tattered and stinky. Let 2012 be the year you leave the sameness behind and rekindle your love for the sport and perhaps even set a few PR’s in the process.

Here are some suggestions for building the foundation to a better season next year:
  • Find new training partners to complement the ones you already have. New training partners can   help give new perspective, new stories, and new jokes.
  • Incorporate intervals into your training that you do not normally do. If you like short, fast intervals challenge yourself with longer repeats. If you are an aficionado of mile repeats, try some 400's instead. And, vary you workouts so you aren't doing the same exact thing every week.
  • Seek the help of a trainer at the gym and get strong. A trainer will show you the right way to do the exercises and can give you a plan targeted to your weaknesses.
  • Take enough time away from swim, bike, run that you really miss it. Believe me, I know first hand. After 16 months without riding, I really miss it!
  • Sign up for new races or race distances that you would not normally do. This year I ran cross-country, 10k races and races in new venues. It was a blast.
  • Run a 5k. Look, we can all use a good dose of speed.
  • Take care of nagging injuries. Self explanatory!
  • Perfect your form in all three disciplines. This will make you more efficient and may prevent injuries.
  • Working with a coach may help you achieve many of these things
I hope that you can find some things to take your training and racing to the next level in 2012.