It’s been 7weeks since starting x endurance so Its time to give you some feedback and the benefits that I have felt. Http://www.xendurance.com
I have been taking 3 tablets in the morning and 3 in the evening religiously and can honestly say I’ve felt a dramatic improvement in my ability to recover from sessions and the quality I am able to produce in each session.
The best example if this was during my training camp at kinetic PB in Spain at the start if the year.
I spent 2 weeks of high volume training with many sessions being pretty brutal.
Prior to the training camp my training volume typically consists of Hitting around 30-35 hours of training each week, and typically after 3-4 weeks of this my legs are pretty smashed and my calves need a bit if rest.
During the two weeks out I Spain my my intention was to up the training volume to around the 40hr Mark an see how my body responded.
So the first week of training was pretty solid and I was amazed how my body was feeling at the end of the week, I had intended to take a day off on the Sunday before getting stuck into week two, well that was the plan, but when I hit the weekend my body still felt good and ended up training through the Sunday and for the remainder of the camp.
In terms of sessions I was running every day over pretty brutal trails, with every 3rd day being a long 90min -2hr run consisting of typically 1 hr solid of climbing.
This was a dramatic improvement as the last few months my calves had caused me problems.
My toughest test was towards the end of the second week which consisted of a 6hr hilly ride, finishing the last 90min very hard through and off with training partner Joe, then straight of the bike into a 15k very hilly trail run, on a pretty hot day.
The bike felt great and it was the best I had felt all week, then the run felt awesome, finishing with a very tough climb up to the dam, I finished the run over 15min than I had initially planned, with Joe who had planned to be an aid station with 5k to go missing me as was just on one.
That was a tough session especially after the previous weeks training, but I felt awesome, and the days later my body just kept going with no sign of muscle fatigue.
There was only one day out There were I felt over cooked with two days to go so had an easy morning spin, and chilled for a few hours, before swimming in the evening and was smashing out times in the pool that equaled my personal best.
I’m not saying that this is all down to x endurance, as I have been training my arse off these last 4months, but can definitely say it’s helping me respond and recover so much quicker and am able to attack each session with the intensity that it deserves.
This week I’ve backed off the training to reap the full benefits of my efforts in Spain, which has been hard to do as my legs still feel good, but know that my body needs to back of a little.
I can’t wait for my race season to begin as I have improved so much this winter in all three disciplines and more importantly my mental focus and strength Is in a place that It hasn’t been before.
For more information about extreme endurance go to their website http://www.xendurance.com
In her own words.
Well…it ain’t over til its over…
Having won the World Xterra Championships over a month ago, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on this momentous achievement. I think it’s finally sunk in….
It was a challenging day to say the least. I’d gone out to Maui 10 days early to prep on the new course. During that time, I was lucky enough to stay with a bunch of British guys that took all of the anxiety away and filled my heart with the wonderful sarcastic humor that is home! Sharing 1 small bedroom with 3 other blokes, I quickly remembered why I love the sport of xterra so much. It’s gritty, its tough and its one big family struggling through together!
With illness and injury having plagued me for the last 12 months, I was relieved to wake up on race morning feeling quite good. Sharing the car with my best friends Tammy and Jess as well as hubby Marshall, we trundled towards what is now affectionately known as ‘the front line’. Like soldiers getting ready for battle, we sat in silence…awaiting our fate.
The swim start was BRUTAL. I guess it always is. For once, when the gun went off, my nerves dissipated but boy was I beaten up! After the first lap, I was already 30 secs down on where I wanted to be. I’d been blocked by slower swimmers but with the run on the beach, I managed to make some time up and get clear water ahead of me!
In and out of transition and before I knew it, I was right where I wanted to be. In third position, on Mel’s (McQuaid) wheel and ready for action. But no, a win is not a win without hardship! I felt a spongy-ness bellow me and yes, I was right…a flat tire!! In pole position and a friggin flat tire. I couldn’t believe it. With every negative thought pouring through my brain, I got off and attempted to fix it by using CO2. A minute down, I headed off again, now with a semi-flat tire and the first set of trails to contend with. After a technical descend, the tire almost rolled off. Again, flat as flat could be. Luckily Jess had convinced me to carry 2 CO2s so after another minute of messing around, I got the tire filled up. Now 2 mins down and behind a bunch of other pro chicks that I’d spent hard earned time in the pool trying to gain a lead on, I was off.
You know its funny because even with the years of experience I have in racing, I still get overwhelmed by nerves and pressure. I knew I was fit enough to contend the race but somehow, in many races in the past, I’ve let the pressure get the better of me. However, with this flat tire, there came a strange sense of calmness. I didn’t care anymore. the race was over so what did I have to lose? i might as well enjoy this beautiful course and race until I blew….
On a rode, passing this girl, passing that girl and finally realizing that I was actually going pretty well and maybe I could salvage a podium spot….
Meanwhile, poor Si (aka hubby), was going through an emotional roller coaster. Having not known about my mechanical he was baffled by the twitter feeds.
Into T2 – 3.5 mins down on 2nd and 3rd, 6.5 mins down on the lead held by Mel. Normally this info would distress me but not today. I truly wasn’t even listening, I was just ready to run. Feeling the best I have probably ever felt coming off the bike, I got going up the path. Up and up and up. Passing this person and that, overtaking 2nd at only just over 2 miles. I knew the game was on.
The rest is poetry really. There are so few times in an athletes career where they see the tunnel but this was one of them for me. And by a tunnel I mean that I was so much in the zone that all I wanted to do was go forward, all I could see was the next few steps on the trail ahead of me. Dancing over the rocks and tree stumps I went from 6.5 mins down on the lead to 1 min 20 with only 1 mile to go. I kept on thinking to myself, ‘every step has to count’…that was it. That was my mantra.
And so on the last single track descent, with a helicopter above me, I saw Mel ahead, laboring. This was it. This was my chance. I pushed it out of my mind and focused on taking one step in front of the other.
In a flash, I overtook her. I was now in the lead. Coming down on to the road, there was Si, screaming and shouting..pretty much going ballistic. Focus focus focus…thats all I kept saying to myself.
With a technical river bed yet to navigate, I had to keep my wits about me. Would Mel try to stick on my heels? Was anyone behind getting close to me? BOOM, and down I went. I tripped on a rock and smashed my knee into a boulder. With blood pouring out, I popped up instantly. “Paterson get yourself together”….drumming through my head.
Limping up the riverbed, I finally got on to the beach. People were shouting and cheering but all I wanted to do was get to the finish. I daren’t look behind me. Finish finish finish.
That last 50yards in to the finish was glorious. It was like being a kid at Christmas. All that hard work, all that sacrifice, worth it….to see Si jump around, to see all my friends so happy. Magical. Plain and simple.
The days after were a blur, so many well wishes, emails, phonecalls. That’s been the best bit. All those people that have helped me through the years, just so pleased for me. My dad, my mum, my family, my training partners, my coach. When you achieve something like this, you realize that you have done this for them as much as for yourself!
I will never forget what that felt like and hope to feel it many times over in the future! I never forget how lucky I am to do this job. How lucky I am to have been given the opportunity to excel. Thats something I want to give to others and I’ll continue to try and do that as long as I can.
Train as Much as Possible
I love a quote that I was made familiar with by ITU Long Course World Champion triathlete Jordan Rapp. In the context of being asked his opinion on a whole manner of training and recovery methods, he simply said that the best approach is to “train as much as possible.” Breaking this statement down into its two component parts makes it even easier to understand:
1) Train as much: More volume and more intensity is good, so long as…
2) As Possible: The body and mind are in a position to successfully adapt to the applied training load
Smart, structured, and long-term training is all about introducing physiological stimulus to the body (e.g., your sport-specific and functional strength workouts) which triggers adaptation over time (e.g., getting faster, stronger) . Most athletes fully understand the first part of Jordan’s statement — introducing escalating levels of volume and intensity into their routines — but not as many understand how it is enabled by the second part.
The body’s ability to take on more training in a positive way (leading to fitness gains, not injury) is contingent on far more than an individual’s current fitness level. This is not to say that current fitness levels don’t matter, because they do; it would be irresponsible to prescribe a 4-hour ride for someone with a current max ride duration of 2-hours. The same goes for intensity. No doubt about it, the body must be aerobically and structurally ready to take on increased levels of training stress, and an incremental “building” approach is the only way to get there…But that’s just one part of the equation and I find that many don’t place enough importance on the other parts of the equation, if not overlook them altogether.
The “as possible” is a 24/7 type of thing, influenced literally by everything we do, both inside and outside of sport. To better illustrate my point, imagine two athletes with the exact same fitness level at the start of 2012. Now, I am going to differ a few critical “as possible” variables. Note that I am really going to extremes to juxtapose the two, and this is to make my point clear and obvious.
Sleep: Athlete 1 is a graduate student taking a very manageable course load, and is able to sleep 8-hours a night, and also has the time for naps on strenuous training days. Athlete 2 just got promoted at an investment bank, and thus, has had to stay up later and wake up earlier in order to manage increased responsibility at work. Athlete 2 sleeps 6 hours a night, and napping is not an option.
Nutrition: Athlete 1 has the time to think about and prepare most of his meals. He almost never misses a meal, and always fuels his workouts properly. Athlete 2, constantly cramming workouts in wherever they will fit, is often forced to eat sub-ideal foods, and unfortunately, even finds himself missing [the most important] meals after workouts due to the generally rushed nature of his life.
General Life Stress: Athlete 1 has a job lined up for when he finishes school, is in a supportive and loving relationship, and is also in a good financial position. Athlete 2 is working through some tough things with family, feels an internal pressure to beat the guy next to him at work, and consistently has superiors [at the bank] in his face about meeting deadlines.
Acute Recovery: Athlete 1 can wear compression tights to class, ice his body while taking care of reading assignments, and works with a great local massage therapist. Meanwhile, Athlete 2 would be hard pressed to wear compression tights on Wall Street, let alone even have the time to get the damn things on!! Icing is an option, but only on weekends, and massage therapy rarely fits into Athlete 2′s schedule right now.
Long-Term Plan and Comfort: Athlete 1 works with a coach he trusts, and has a plan that he is confident in, and is constantly tweaked as a result of his response to it. Athlete 2 also works with a coach, as a matter of fact, the same coach as Athlete 1. That said, Athlete 2 just doesn’t have the time or energy to communicate frequently, and even his virtual updates are short, and often lack qualitative feedback from workouts.
Imagine that each of these athletes has 15 hours available to train weekly. If they execute the exact same workouts, I would almost guarantee that Athlete 1 becomes fitter — and races faster as a result — than Athlete 2.
As a matter of fact, Athlete 1 might be able to take on even additional training (e.g., 18-20 hours a week). Athlete 1 can up the “train as much” part of the equation, because the “as possible” part enables it. Following the same logic, Athlete 2, on the other hand, would likely be wise to decrease his training load (e.g., maybe to something more like 10-12 hours a week). In short, a baseline fitness level (remember that in this example, Athlete 1 and Athlete 2 had the same ingoing fitness) is only one component in determining how much training an athlete can take on and positively respond to. Therefore, it is important to account for, and to the extent possible, manage the other components too. Although some of the “as possible” variables are out of our control, many of them are within it, and it’s really just a matter of prioritizing what is important at certain times of life (e.g., do I take on the crazy job with the equally as crazy compensation, or do I max out my athletic potential??). It is also important to remember that so many of the “as possible” drivers are constantly changing; two-years from now, Athlete 1 (from our example above) may have 3x the “as possible” limiters as Athlete 2.
“Train as much as possible” really helps simplify things in an era where there is increasing complexity and variety on the market for training programs. So, what to do with all of this?
Constantly take stock of your “as possible” limiters and be sure that your training plan reflects them. At times, this may manifest in a window of opportunity to really up the training volume and intensity, while at other times, it might mean doing the opposite. Along those lines, realize that a decent amount of this is within at least somewhat of your control. To the extent that you find yourself in and/or can create a situation where the “as possible” widens, don’t be scared to take advantage of it by getting aggressive in your training. That said, have the courage to do the reverse if required too.
And the best part about all of this: next time someone asks you about the secrets to your training program, you can simply respond, “I train as much as possible.”
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