Sunday, July 19, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

42 days to IMC

Pete Reid used to talk about the final eight weeks before his “A” race. This was the period of time he felt he could maintain a 100% “correct choice” record.
For Peter what this meant was as he moved through his days and encountered those little (and not so little) choices we all have to make, he would make the choice he felt was going to make him stronger on race day.
It sounds simple – but it’s not. He admitted to me he’d tried to go longer a few times, a choice in itself, but that had gone badly.
What kind of decisions are we talking about? For the athlete trying to get himself into fighting shape I think the forks in the road can be categorized into three main slots – training, recovery and calories.
While most of the decisions are obvious ones (McDonalds or a nice stir fry), make no mistakes about it – some are difficult indeed. Should you do one more kilometre repeat? Should you sleep in and swim solo or drag your ass out of bed at 5:30 to get in a club swim? Should you do your 5 hour ride on 250 calories or 2500 calories? The lawn needs mowing but it’s your recovery day. And on and on and on.
It’s nice to have a coach to help with some of these decisions but in the end, for most of them you’ll have to rely on common sense and your ability to be brutal in your honesty.
Peter knew that in order for him to win on the lava fields he needed to be scary lean. And he knew in order to get that leanness he needed to be uncomfortable almost all of the time. So came the tough decisions – does he compromise his workout by under fuelling and forcing the fat into the fire or did he feed well for training and hope to get a hotter fire burning? Clearly the choices he made were mostly the right ones.
Instinct, experience, intelligence and a vocal conscience all help for these truly difficult decisions but here’s the kicker, here’s the point I want to make to my athletes and anyone else out there who might care - for most of us the decisions aren’t that hard. They’re obvious and we know them well when they come at us.
It’s six weeks to Ironman Canada. The world champion bared down for eight weeks. Can’t we mortals do it for six?
For six weeks say no to dessert, nap in the afternoon and don’t miss a workout. Get the regular massages and hire a neighbour kid to mow your lawn.
Do what you have to do and make some sacrifices.
Six weeks from now you will be a better athlete and you will be mentally stronger because you’ll know you’ve actually paid a price beyond what most people are willing to pay.
Anyone can put in the miles but are you someone who can go the extra mile?