The Autumn and Winter months provide just as much time to be active as the brighter side of the year. Less daylight can be instrumental for an individual to disrupt the strong foundations of health, fitness and vitality that has been acquired in Summer. It's also a time, particularly January, when many will throw themselves at catching up. This can have unfortunate results due to overtraining/ new activity induced injury, poor nutrition to support increased output and a drastic reduction in frequency by the end of February due to lack of planning, enjoyment and direction.
A challenge on the immediate horizon
Set a challenge that requires immediate action and isn't too far away in time. I've seen it many times where a client has a place in a Spring marathon such as London. They get the place in November. 6 months is a long way off to remain highly motivated for a single event. A typical outcome is that training consistently gets delayed, because that event is ages away, and training starts in earnest middle of January. Now, all that is going to happen is a game of catch up, mistakes and stress. A Madmule programme takes this into consideration of course ;-) . A nudge is all that it takes and we all respond to a positive nudge.
Reward and challenge yourself on a weekly basis. The relevance to long term goals helps, though is not essential.
Are you ready?
Wait for the Winter to pass and life itself will pass you by. You are not a bear. You cannot fly South. You have to make the most of the time available for activity in a world where you demand so much of your yourself. Look after the foundations. The foundation is you. Maintain it and it will be the biggest step to making gains you ever experience.
Best in health and adventure.
This Saturday 17th November will see me on the start line of the Wendover Woods 50 mile race.
Organised by Centurion Running, it's a hilly undulating course of 10 miles, repeated 5 times. With a total ascent of 2000 ft per lap, it will surely be one for pacing with precision and care.
Writing about events after they have been completed is usually the protocol. Breaking with tradition, these are my thoughts prior to race day and how I will attempt to place method into this madness.
* the mindset has always been to complete Ultra races with intelligence, ownership and happiness. When I don't go over the start line with that outlook and maintain through the session, then DNF is the result. Sure, there were a couple of races in the past that created so much pain I thought about giving up. It was uncomfortable.
These extreme efforts placed upon the body will hurt. At no point, have I experienced suffering. An expression that is batted around the Ultra, weekend warrior, "extreme" fitness community, to name a few, with complete abandon and disregard for the self titled banner it has become. It's an opinion, and dare say there are many of the afore mentioned participants who can describe their experiences as ones of suffering and express that with validity.
However, when taking part in a race, that I have voluntarily entered, I now have absolute control over the destiny of my experience. When there is a hint of self pity or doubt, I coach myself to remember the training, put to practice the methods that get you through those difficult moments and most importantly, always remind myself there are people out there truly suffering. The position we find ourselves in a race can be stopped or managed down a level at anytime. Therefore, there is no longer an experience of suffering within the race. This is an experience of stupidity and irrational behaviour.
* Ultra running is a practice of patience under stress. Getting the stress point correct is relative to how well the brain stays tuned to demonstrating patience. The day when the two collide is a good day. Good planning. Great mindset.
These are my observations prior to the 50 miles ahead on Saturday. A sub 9 hour race and it will cap off a steady year of training and added more insight into the practical factors that increase success and happiness when completing these adventures. I'll be sure to give a word of encouragement to others along the way as I have recieved gladly from fellow competitors over the years.