Let’s close the week with some athletic advice (to myself mainly).
Paradox of Stress => if you want to do something difficult then you will need to reduce other forms of stress to achieve it.
Athletically, in the winter, this usually means considering two opposing goals => reducing fat (vanity) vs increasing lean body mass (victory).
Personally, there’s no contest => as a mountain athlete, constrained by COVID, my big wins will come from improving functional strength and increasing lean body mass.
That said, it’s emotionally challenging to absorb this reality. I carry with me an enduring bias towards weight loss. My internal bias is reinforced by my peers and community.
Missing the opportunity to maintain strength has a cost we don’t see until far into the future. In terms of return on investment, strength training is powerful medicine. I can’t think of many things that work as well with a time investment of only 2-3 hours per week.
What’s your long term goal?
Some quick tips.
Gain Five Pounds – let your weight rise a little, naturally. Adding 3% to my body weight does wonders for my ability to recover.
If you’ve overshot on the weight gain then reduce stress below the point you crave sugar. My cravings, and sleep patterns, are my early-warning system (of impending doom).
How might you reduce unnecessary athletic stress?
1/. Cut your power/pace zones unilaterally and don’t test until spring => I knocked 20% off my bike power zones and reset my season bests effective Nov 1st, 2020. This change did wonders for my mental state.
2/. Ditch the sustained tempo => I wear my HRM to cap my efforts. If you want to challenge yourself then do something useful… commit to a quality winter strength program.
Long term success is all about the streak – there are 3,275 days between today and my 60th birthday.
Next week’s posts will explain how I used the pandemic to carve an extra 10,000 hours out of those days.
Streaks, not peaks.