Wrapping Up My Iodine Year – Element 53


53 was one of the best years of my life.

Here’s my year.

Brick by brick.

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Baseline Stress – Started November 2021

I was unaware of my baseline stress. Heart rate variability (HRV) gave me a look into both my stress, and my health.

HRV doesn’t care about my capacity to grind through fatigue.

Start gathering daily heart rate variability data and take a look

HRV is not “the answer”

The answer is removing the choices that screw up my HRV

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Connection – Started January 2022

When I returned to Twitter, my stretch goal was 10,000 connections by 2031 (empty nest for us).

Quickly, I realized I’d anchored on a meaningless number

What I needed was a handful of connections

A handful of my kind of people

  • Who are your people?
  • Where are they?
  • What do they like to do?

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Engagement – Started February 2022

In the Rich Roll podcast (recorded July 2022)

I wanted to see if there was a place for my voice

This goes beyond connection => positive action

We are wired to get a boost from helping other people

I love helping people figure things out

  • What’s your thing?
  • Who’s trying to learn about your thing?

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Narrative – Started May 2022

Humans run on narrative (book link)

Write a story you can:

  • embody
  • share
  • teach
  • be proud of

Let the story take you where you want to go

  • What’s your story?
  • Where do you want to go?


Links & Additional Resources

Sunday Summary 13 November 2022

Top Threads

Endurance Training Tips

High Performance Habits

Sunday Summary 6 November 2022

Top Threads

  1. Ideas for the 4hr+ Marathoner
  2. Pulled resources into a Dynamic Loading Thread
  3. Remove friction between yourself and “better”
  4. Novices Always Want to Prove Progress, I’m not immune!
  5. Asked for help on resources for making desktop videos

Endurance Training Tips

High Performance Habits

Three Tips for Playing Your Best Game


Above, my 2000 landing page

All the world-class players I know, take their game very seriously!

This attitude runs from life-and-death situations (combat, medicine) through to less lethal environments… say, lane etiquette at the track / pool.

OUR game is IMPORTANT

It could very well be.

Let’s explore for a moment.


First Tip : What do my ACTIONS say about the game I am actually playing?


How about ten years living like these guys?

If you survive then you will be a phenomenal athlete.

That’s how you play the “endurance athlete game”

NVDP – similar game, similar approach

All Domains => BIG survivor bias in the winners

Special people, challenging to integrate into a family system.


The high-performance game is a young person’s game.

Why?

Meaningful relationships outside your domain are impossible (think NFL Quarterbacks, Grand Tour Winners).



Second Tip: Connection is the central ‘problem’ of aging

The reason high-performers keep coming back…

  • They can’t find the answer in their domain…
  • And we’re all telling them how great they are…
  • So they keep plugging on…
  • Until their lives fall apart

I had the rug pulled out on my life, too.

It was a good thing.

I started asking myself better questions.

We are free, at any time, to change direction.

Is my game solving the central problem facing my future self?

Have I even thought about this question?


Third Tip: Knowing “What We Don’t Want” Is Easier

When you hear the voice, “this isn’t where I need to be.”

Listen

Our true needs are simple.

Too often I fall prey to lifestyle inflation (here & here) and showing off.

Not only is that game impossible to win, it will take me somewhere I didn’t, and don’t, want to go.

As a young person, the first values we notice are the “not for me” choices of our peers.


So, if you start journalling, lower the stakes.

The game of life is ever changing.

What’s right for you today, will change over time.

Maybe, you’ll find a life partner and agree to face change together.

I have complete confidence you’ll figure it out

I say to my kids.

We’d figure it out, together.

Same reassuring mantra, different target => my wife

Our lives, our paths, our friendships, and our marriages…

only need to make sense to us

The voice we hear in our diaries, the themes that reoccur in our writings – that’s who we need to be faithful to.

If we don’t choose with intention then we get the default set of values of our parents, our peers, or our surroundings.

Own your game.

What do my actions say about the game I am really playing?

Where is this likely to take me?

Creating a Self-Directed Life With Meaning

Let’s dig a little deeper into a topic I discussed with Rich.

The year is 2000, I’m divorcing and have the urge to leave everything (job, city, hemisphere).

This is a common feeling.

The idea that everything would be better if I could just start fresh.

The one piece of advice I listened to….

Slow Down

Before taking action, I started journalling.

My program was from The Artist’s Way and boils down to this…

Write three pages every morning for 12 weeks and pay attention to what you’re telling yourself

These days, there is a video course.

My journalling resulted in my first Top Ten List, below, from 2000.



There wasn’t much overlap between where I was and where I wanted to be.

The desire to leave, seemed legit.

So I left.

How did it go?

  1. Writing you
  2. In an organized office
  3. Feeling relaxed
  4. With an 8:29 IM best
  5. In a home base
  6. Having published 1,000+ articles
  7. Still have too much stuff
  8. With an absolutely wonderful wife
  9. Could do with being less serious
  10. Once again, looking for new challenges

It is NOT as simple as writing a list and sitting back.

We gotta make it happen.

To make improvement happen, we need to know where we want to go.

…and writing is one way to get out of our own way

…out of all the external wants of our environment

Working in finance, living in Hong Kong, caught in a life driven by acquisition/spending…

My thoughts were dominated by external wants.

I went to Far North Queensland and the South Island of New Zealand.

Cleared my head out and built the life I wanted to lead.



These days the process is much simpler.

Five Minutes AM & PM

I use a few short prompts I got from Dickie Bush



Same idea: get out of my own way and see what I’m telling myself.

What do I have to say?

2022 rhymes with 2000

  • Less is OK
  • Grateful for my adult setbacks and childhood difficulties
  • Moderate the peaks
  • Simple questions work
  • Winning doesn’t feel different
  • Less stuff makes me feel serene
  • I’m preparing for a very slow race
  • Get fit, not stuff
  • My kids are leaving soon – enjoy them
  • Tired means I’ve done enough
  • Focus on the week, not the outcome
  • It’s OK to leave it alone
  • Don’t buy anything I have to manage
  • Everything is trending up

Do you notice the difference between the two lists?

First off, the list feels more positive. I start every morning by writing down something I’m grateful for.

When I started, gratitude seemed hokey.

23 years ago, I felt the same way about love.

It’s a lot easier to fill a need if we’re open to the concept.

I want to repeat, it’s important…

Love. Respect. Admiration. Connection.

You don’t have to admit it to anyone other than yourself.

Be open to realizing what’s lacking in your life.

Next, my list makes it obvious that my life situation is not a problem.

Whatever I need to do… I can do right here.

This gets to The Question I talked about with Rich.

If this was it, are you OK with it?



You Gotta Make It Happen

=========

More Resources

My thread on the book, Time Management for Mortals – how to do

Five Questions to Ask Yourself & Becoming Lifestyle Sustainable

The biggest mistake I saw in Finance – a life of experiences, not stuff

The Choices That Define Your (Financial) Life

A similar article to today, from 2004.


LINK to web archive of above

A similar article to today, from 2011


Link to Top Ten List from my early 40s – from when I decided to phase out racing


Posted in our kitchen

Four Questions to Help Self-Coached Athletes Achieve Their Best Season Ever

Running to a podium finish at Ironman New Zealand

Each week I post my Training Review on Twitter.

My review is driven by four questions:

  1. What went right?
  2. Did I hit my minimums?
  3. Where can I trade stress?
  4. What can screw things up?

My questions track to actions:

  1. Keep
  2. Add
  3. Trade
  4. Remove and Address

Across the week, I take notes and when I take my back-to-back recovery days, I review the week.

++

What Went Right?

You are going to be tempted to “progress the week.”

Unfortunately, in highly motivated populations, this leads to breakdown, and missed gains!

Better to repeat the week & keep what works

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Did I Hit My Minimums?

Last Thursday, I gave you a Training Intensity Allocation.

Let’s see what that implies for my last week: 15 hours total => 900 minutes

  1. Strength => 90 minutes
  2. Stamina => 720 minutes
  3. Intensity => 90 minutes
    1. Tempo => 54 Minutes
    2. Threshold => 27 minutes
    3. VO2 & VO2+ => 9 minutes

Is there a training segment that I’m avoiding?

Think outside the box, there are many interesting sessions that are hybrids of strength/intensity.

Use the small allocations wisely and have fun with them.

++

What Trades Make Sense?

First Two Tips:

  1. Repeat don’t progress
  2. Hit the minimums

If I want to ADD then do a TRADE.

Example #1: I like to run in the hills. However, I don’t need to run up a mountain every week! Across a week, a fortnight, a month… I manage my “elevation load” between weeks.

Example #2: I’m relatively strong for my age and category. I trade Strength load to accommodate more Stamina within my week.

Example #3: Max HR test last week? Add more Zone 1 to start the following week. Balance the intensity mixes across more than just the week. Give yourself time to fully absorb your highest intensity sessions. Same thing applies for sessions that cause significant muscle damage (plyometrics, downhill run load).

Example #4: get to the source of your life stress:

  • Sleep
  • Alcohol
  • Energy deficits
  • Spontaneous tempo
  • Over-reaction
  • Excessive load
  • Too many goals

If I want to better absorb training then reduce the stress caused by choices outside my core goals.

Endurance training, done to the best of our ability, offers an incentive to straighten out our lives.

++

Avoiding Ruin – What Might Screw Up Next Week?

In the acute sense… Avoid The Injury!

Take time to address the little niggles while they are still little!

Dial the program DOWN before the injury is created.

Trade low quality days for high quality weeks.

In the chronic sense… going down an unsustainable path feels great, ride up to the day before you fall apart!

Consider, then address, areas of instability:

  • Relationships
  • Sponsors
  • Finances
  • Emotions
  • Habits

How to make this happen?

Put it in your calendar!

Make an appointment with yourself, daily.

Example: 10 minutes every day on mobility and one positive action to reduce long term stress.

Little positive steps have big impacts when applied over long time horizons.


The ability to bring these habits into your athletic life gives you a skill set to improve all aspects of your life.

Figuring It Out

Dad, a little before I came on the scene

My Dad and I have a weekly call.

On the call, we try to figure things out.

We joke that we have been having the same conversation for years.

We get a lot out of our conversation, even if there are recurring themes!

After hundreds of calls, I’ve figured some things out:

The energy I spend planning for the future is wasted. The future that arrives is always different than expected.

I keep fooling myself that buying something will make my life better. Thankfully, I have a system to slow my ability to act on my feelings.

Time shows us what better looks like. The actions that actually make my life better have been the same for a very long time.

Do what needs to be done. Do the actions. That is it. Enjoy the actions!

There’s no more to be attained. One of the reasons I left finance was I had taken enough from society. Ironically, I got the idea from Warren Buffett. I pulled the pin at 31, Warren’s 91 and still rolling.

My life only needs to make sense to me. Warren might be right.

Consider Declaring Victory! When you arrive where you were trying to get to… before pushing onwards… stop, look around and ask, “Is there anything I can learn from the experience?

Apply the best advice, from those who know you well. When Dad turned 60 he told me to “create roots”. I was newly married, at the peak of my athletic career (36) and living between Bermuda, Scotland, Australia and the US. A few years later, I moved to my wife’s hometown and stayed put.

Cautious optimism beats pessimism every single time. Keep what works, change slowly.

Sunday Summary 28 August 2022

Top Five

  1. Serious Athlete’s Guide to Building Your Training Week
  2. Legs up the wall, eccentric lowers to settle your hamstrings
  3. Heart Rate does not capture metabolic stress
  4. How to Shake Up Your Basic Week
  5. Swim Game coming September 11th – Get Back to Swimming
    1. I will ask you to do nearly everything bilaterally

Endurance Sport

High-Performance Habits

Sunday Summary 21 August 2022

Top Threads

  1. Developing Teen Running Talent
    1. Workout idea from Rich
  2. Fitness enabling a feeling of freedom
  3. Burning lactate strips in an attempt to prove I can go harder
  4. Johan’s advice to stay focused on what makes you better
  5. A benefit of developing low-end aerobic range

Workouts & Working Out

High-Performance Habits

A Step-by-Step Guide for Getting To Better

A framework for better

When I’m in the Doom Loop, my problems appear outside my control.

So the first step, is getting myself out of the loop.

Start by reaching out.


Social Connection – absent connection, clarity of thought suffers.

It won’t feel this way from inside the “doom loop”

A useful warning signal is getting caught in negative feedback loops.

I’ve written a fair amount on depression:

  • 2022 ideas for all athletes
  • 2014 ideas for overloaded parents
  • 2013 ideas for high-performance athletes

I won’t rehash here. I will say simply…

When my problems appear to be outside my control, when the normal setbacks of daily living are getting me down, when my mind is caught in a doom loop…

Time to SEEK

  1. New Environments
  2. New Ideas, People and Experiences

Give the mind an opportunity to find a better fixation.

At first, anything is better.

With time, from outside the doom loop, we can curate our attention.

Separate from getting past the doom loop, this technique is how I found my wife!


Are You Sure Your Problem is The Problem?

I work as a fiduciary advising families about risk, ruin, health, life, human capital… you name it. A common concern is concentration and fear of loss.

Whatever is keeping you up at night, split it in half.

Then pay attention.

If you are still worried then it’s not about your worries.

There is something else driving your anxiety.

Anxiety is an interesting emotion – it feels a lot like excitement.

Anxiety can be mapped on to enthusiasm for new experiences and positive fixations (see step one, above).


It is not possible to plan our way out of a doom loop. We must act!

What to do? I have no ideas for you!

All I can offer is questions…

  1. What are you doing when you laugh out loud?
  2. What person makes you feel good when you see them?
  3. What environments make you feel serene?

My list: exercise, solo, trees, water, quiet and a list of five people who “make me feel good”

Use your list – go, act, do…


I’ve been writing about One Thing for 20+ years. The most rewarding periods of my life have been characterized by a quest for One Thing.

My theory of One Thing is simple, but not easy!

  1. decide what will make a difference (see 123 in section above)
  2. do what is required to move towards your thing (this is uncomfortable to start)
  3. give a nice no-thanks to distractions & poor habits (via negativa)

Let’s recap:

  • Offer the mind new things to focus upon
  • Exit the Doom Loop
  • With clarity, decide on your One Thing
  • Map anxiety onto enthusiasm for moving towards your One Thing

Let’s end with a story.

I’m working on getting back in shape. Now, “getting in shape” has a different meaning for me than many. My doctor tells me I was “in shape” already.

…but it wasn’t the kind of shape that lets me live the life I want for my future self

…and it wasn’t working for my mental health (2022 depression link above)

So I changed my approach, and ramped my social connection back up.

Life is better.

That’s it.

Better is the win.


I’ve been using the WayBack Machine to access my old writings
This is a screenshot from my first landing page
I’ve been telling myself to enjoy the journey since 2000