Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Question Via Email - How to go to University ? Be Social ? and Train ?

I received this email inspired by  Terry Orlicks 'Wheel of Excellence' If you have never seen or read his work please check out his site here. . The concept of the 'Wheel' is that there are several spokes that lead to Excellence. Among them are Distraction Control, Commitment and Mental Readiness, which we will discuss below. 

"After reading this I thought of two things. One is that of distractions not necessarily in and around the races but now when I'm at school in the USA. I find it hard to participate in events because I don't want to negatively affect my training and health by drinking beer or alcohol for that matter.  I've so far just been limiting myself to two drinks when I drink with my friends but it's hard to fit in without partaking in whatever they are doing and even that amount I don't really enjoy because it's just empty cals, although I do enjoy a cold beer once in a while. I don't know what your take is on it but what did you decide to do while training for cycling throughout school? I still want to have some fun but not involving the consumption of alcohol, is that possible when everyone else around you is drinking? 
Also the other thing was just that I was not very solid on what my routine/mental prep during race mornings or the day before is, I previously would just eat a large breakfast not really paying attention to what was in it but usually involving cereal, eggs and toast. I usually would eat 2 hours before for example a 1:30 race I would eat it at 11:30 then not eat any more after that except for a gel 15 min before and maybe a small chocolate bar. I think I need to come up with a routine that I use every time that works for me and maybe practice it at a few less significant races this spring.


Awesome Questions, Thanks for the Email ! 

My initial thought is that looking at CONFIDENCE in your GOALS would help both these issues. 

Item 1- We are looking more at COMMITMENT here I think ? I think a good first step is to review or create what you want to accomplish (your goals) for the next few years in sport / Health / Career / Social. 

- With those big goals in place we can then look at little steps we need to take each day/month to get closer to each goal. With these big goals and the first few steps planned your commitment can grow as you have your 2 or 3 big goals and know what you WANT to do. This should make that commitment, and the associated decisions easier. 

            An Example of Big Goal - Little Steps concept
   1) Top 10 Prov. Races - 2 quality, focused, limiter directed bike sessions per week + 1x3hr end. WO per week
   2) Graduate with 'X' Average - attend each class, 1 hr of prep for each Class + 20min review of each class 
   3) Social/Long Term Relationship - Meet someone new each day, go out each Friday

For most people a responsible 'social' night (or two) a week isn't a big deal in terms of training, and I think once you map out your objectives and KNOW what you do you WANT you will see improved results in your training and social interactions because you are doing each with 100% commitment. If you don't want to drink, then you just need to stick your ground for a few nights (with full CONFIDENCE) and you should find things subside. If you are having fun, dancing and talking to people it is hard for others to push drinks on you to 'have fun'.  If you do want to drink, some thoughts to minimize damage on 'social' nights would include stopping drinking as early in the night as you can, consuming lighter/lower cal beer if you are going to do beer (gluten free would be good call too). If you are into liquor, a clear liquor would be preferable due to minimal sugar/extra ingredients. Try and follow each drink with a glass of water and as you are able protect your sleep as it is likely the biggest determinant of how you will feel the next day.

For what it is worth, I decided early in highschool, that I did not really like the bar scene and that I wanted to ride my bike, get as fit as I could and learn as much as I could while at school for Kinesiology. I focused on those two things with everything I had. I was fine knowing that SOME social opportunities were being missed as I was happy doing 2 things I really enjoyed. That said, I made sure each week had enough down time with friends as that balance is imperative too! 

Item 2 -  Routine/Mental Readiness - Developing a routine is a HUGE area for most of us to improve. The simple answer here is do what you do everyday on race day. Race day should not be any different then a bigger workout during the week, this is an area most people could gain HUGE performance.  From nutrition, to getting dressed, to the clothes/products/equipment you use keep it reliable. If you know that eating a bowl of oatmeal/2 eggs 2.5hrs before the race/workout start makes you feel your best then you have no question morning of the race about amounts/types of foods. **Do play with different foods / amounts in training though **

General rules are 2-3 hrs before would be last meal, no fat, no fiber, keep it easily digestible and carb/protein mix. Common pre-race meals are oatmeal/eggs, toast & honey or for those with weaker stomachs ENSURE. Most people stay away from dairy especially before the workout but yogurt/cereal is actually a common pre-race too. 

And I would try to get the gel in closer to the start (ie. 5min) if you can (see Hammer Nutrition Guidelines in resources page)

Let us know how it goes. 

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