Week four bled together with week three.
Full of life stressors and the unfortunate accident (thankfully everyone is ok and healing well — thank you for your kind words), it’s more prevalent than ever that training isn’t just physical.
In fact, I’ve been reading one of the best training books I’ve ever read, The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. While I’m still in the early pages of the book, Dr. Philip Maffetone paints one of the clearest pictures I’ve encountered regarding endurance training.
The true holistic approach to developing endurance is one in which all aspects of the athlete are considered — these are the triad of structural, chemical and mental fitness and health.
Dr. Maffetone goes on to explain that this approach to holistic training can be represented as an equilateral triangle. The two obvious sides of the triangle are the structural (physical and mechanical aspects, e.g. muscles, joints, etc.) and chemistry (bio0chemical reactions, hormones, food, etc.).
But the one side of the triangle that is gaining increased awareness in my life is the “mental and emotional” side. This is the side that “incorporates our behavior through the activities of the physical and chemical brain.” Among other things, we’re talking about moods, anxiety and stress. It’s not about fitness, but health, which are two very different things.
While I’ve only scratched the surface of the book (and I’ll leave it to Dr. M to further elaborate), it made me realize that I need to stop neglecting this part of my endurance triangle as it is just as important. Being cognizant of the stressors and mental well-being in my life are critical and directly effect my athletic performance. It’s not just the hours I put in, but how I take care of the other two triangles.
The proof was in the pudding when I tried to run shortly thereafter Chicken Face’s accident and my heart rate was through the roof and I simply couldn’t get it down. Week four’s workouts tended to follow this pattern, but they are also what bring me the biggest stress relief.
So as I look down the path of the rest of my training cycle for the season, it will still be about quality over quantity and getting the workouts in, but it will also be about taking care of the entire triangle and making changes in my life to do so, even if they do make people raise their eyebrows and ask, “Why?”
Then I’ll just smile.
I closed out week 4 with:
10.45 hours training:
4,750 yards swimming
66.1 miles cycling
18.7 miles running
15 minutes core and rolling