A good friend of mine and I decided to do an experiment. We wanted to see if it were possible to train for a half Ironman triathlon without hurting her body or her performance at work. In the past when she had trained for such races, her training was very demanding and it took a toll on her body, her mind and her job. She was using so much energy to train and recover, she was having a hard time focusing on and giving herself to her clients at work. So the question was, “Is it possible to train for a half Ironman without the training being so consuming, so she could physically feel good, mentally perform at work, and yet still be competitive and perform well in her race?” The answer was, “Yes. Yes it is!”
If you don’t know, a half Ironman consist of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. To be honest, I would not want to engage in any one of those tasks alone, let alone combing them all in one event. Triathletes are truly special and gifted people. Anyway, the physical stamina and mental tenacity it requires to complete such a task is tremendous. Typically, from what I understand the training frequency and volume to complete such races, half or full triathlons, is fairly demanding – especially if you have a full time job and life outside of your training. Before I go further, I understand there are many different approaches and methods for approaching training for triathlons. But what we really wanted to know is could we wrap the majority of training inside of an Original Strength and Easy Strength method so that my friend could have easy to moderate training days and one really good race day. You know, one day to survive (race day), rather than hundreds of days to survive (training days).
So that was the experiment. We laced my friend’s training with the Original Strength resets and an Easy Strength Mindset. Every day of the week she pressed reset in various forms, for time, like rolling for 10 minutes, crawling for 10 minutes, etc.. Every other day we engaged in one of the events she would be performing in the race, but we did it with very low intensity, like running one to three miles, or just spending time in the water, “feeling” the water and dialing in her strokes, or getting on the bike with friends for weekend rides that lasted between one to two hours. On days we did not engage in swimming, biking and running, we did lots of loaded carries like walking with a backpack for time. In everything we did, we practiced nasal breathing with her lips closed, getting her diaphragm strong while making her lungs and heart efficient. Unless she was on a weekend ride with friends, training rarely lasted an hour.
The results? Well, her body never broke down. Her mind never tapped out. She felt good on most days and was able to completely give herself to her patients at work. She was also able to give herself to her friends and enjoy a social life. She wasn’t consumed with training or recovering from training. Oh, and on race day? She did fantastic. She crushed her events and had one of the best experiences and “highs” of her life. And that makes me happy…
Again, I know there are several ways to skin a cat. But what if you could be as strong as you wanted to be, perform as well as you wanted to in your sport, and live the life you wanted to live through simply rubbing the cat instead of skinning it? What if training didn’t have to hurt? What if training felt good and built you up? What if we changed the way we view training? What if instead of trying to build the body up by conventional means to add more strength, power and stamina, we simply cut the cords and removed the brakes that were holding the body back, allowing it to express untapped strength, power and stamina?
I’m not suggesting training will never be tough, or should never be. I’m only pondering and experiencing that maybe a little training goes a lot further when the body has no limits placed on it. Maybe training is more effective, or a smaller dose is needed, when the body is moving and performing optimally. Maybe training isn’t smothering we survive through in hopes of performing well but something we thrive through in confidence of optimally performing.
The point is training doesn’t have to hurt. And, rubbing the cat may be a lot better than skinning it…