Friday, December 26, 2014

Managing Multiple Pursuits Over the Holiday Season

One of the side effects of holidays (or any break in the weekly routine for that matter) for me is facing the additional demands I place on my free time. Obviously there simply isn't enough already, the irony being that the more free time I seemingly have (i.e. on a holiday) the more things I discover to do. Is everything I'm doing on my time off really important? Almost never. What is the difference between my free time management and regular time? What is the deadline? Who is involved? In this case there have been no deadlines, and nothing clearly defined is involved. By internalizing the possible outcomes I hope I will become better committed to a clear path and able to easier navigate future uncertainty. For me the goals that matter I have never had to write down. Another extension of this is know enough about the process that I am not distracted by alternative or contrary advice. Grounding yourself in reality will help prevent being drawn I nto fads or advice that will ultimately detract from your future performance. Acknowledge that you are blessed with motivation and perhaps the gifts of ability to be able to pursue something that you are passionate about.

Find Your Passions to Find Yourself

Adopting a self-check system can help balance a persons drive to compete including self-assessment questions like: am I doing what I love? is this feeding me? is it fulfilling? In this way you will be clarifying your priorities and possibly going so far as to outline the specific steps needed to manage your life and activities. Assess your goals. Along the way you will organize yourself and also organize your life in a way that better enables you to fill you free time with productive activities, even if they may seem peripheral to your big objective. Part of this is knowing and being able to identify activities (even ones that are not obvious) that support your chosen goal. A corollary of this is automating as much as possible anything that you don't need to take an active role in completing for your own benefit. This can include things like cleaning, cooking, paying bills, etc. There are many services and people who can help you take yourself out of direct involvement in these extraneous chores. On the flip side consider freely offering your time in ways that contribute to your enrichment but may be helping to automate the lives of other less dedicated to your particular pursuit. Working as a connector in a field that allows for frequent interaction may be the best way of accomplishing this.

Stay Focused By Being a Connector!
One of the hardest things to accomplish and also one of the most important tactics is that of removing everything else except for the object your plan to pursue. Having a plan that you are interested in is obviously of utmost importance here for a number of reasons. Not only will this help you focus your mind during downtime, it can help improve your overall patience and dedication. At the same time you will realize that focusing on only one thing can be mentally limiting and exhausting. In order to better apply yourself to a single task it is clear that certain amounts of distraction, downtime, and recovery is required. Attempt to find distractions that are entertaining but that do not add additional fatigue. Think of your energy and capacity to progress as cyclical as the tides.

Go With the Flow
Breakdown projects into tasks. Consider the costs, the scope, and the time commitment of the goal. Delegate. Prepare for disruption and change. Don't panic. Stick to the plan and avoid scrambling to make up for shortcomings. Remember your own and others success stories. Realize that you can't do everything. Avoid multitasking unless you are really good at it. Reach out to others and ask for help! Communicate. Don't allow your ego to get in the way. Take frequent breaks. Stick with the program and don't lose focus. Get it done! Remember the big picture. Be proud of what you do accomplish. And again make sure that you finish what you start. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Managing Injury Near a Race

Mostly the best way to manage an injury is to prevent one from ever happening. In many cases this is simply not possible. Injury will happen when you are not aware that there was even a risk. On the other hand with a chronic injury that is aggravated by training there are other considerations. At the extreme an injury will prevent an athlete from exercising or performing in a race event. Most moderated injury causes discomfort but may not make a race impossible. In this case the injury is minor, however the injury could also be aggravated or become  a chronic problem during an extended athletic performance.

Managing Injury Will Help Avoid This On Race Day

The most common triathlon injuries are related to overuse. Overuse is a condition that results from training the muscles to a point where they are unable to repair properly prior to subsequent training. As a result of the weakness additional strain is placed on ligaments, tendons, and joints. Eventually these body parts fail and pain, inflammation, and trauma occurs. Training through these types of injuries can lead to permanent damage or increasing pain that causes the athlete to take significant time away from intense training. Injuries afflict all three of the triathlon disciplines and each instance will require careful consideration and the input of health and fitness professionals.

Triathletes Bodies Endure Unique Demands
Basically it comes down to the fact that if you have even the precursors for an injury you should not race. In other cases the injury will be far enough away from an event that you will have to consider managing the affected area for recovery while still training. This will require modification to training plans, additional emphasis on recovery, and using body supports such as wraps, braces, or tapes. More serious pain will affect the body outside of training, pains that can be managed will often come up during the training. If the injury resulted from a training error there is a good chance you won't make the same mistake again, injuries that arise without direct cause or during normal movements are more concerning and suggestive of overuse. Ultimately it's much easier to prevent injuries than to treat them. Doing your best to prevent getting hurt will pay dividends come race day. Prevention includes all of the normal practices of flexibility and strength training and also less obvious practices such as taking extra rest days or cutting workouts short depending on how the body feels. Finally it is important to consult physical therapists regarding all training plan modifications and injury prevention practice.