Defining new heights by pushing through discomfort|Triathletes’ Camp

Posted on March 30, 2011

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Just because something sounds hard, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be. Really, what is “hard” anyways – everyone has their own definition of hard; some peoples’ ‘hard’ is something that is just outside their comfort zone. Other peoples’ hard really isn’t hard at all, it’s just unknown to them and so seems hard. But ‘hard’ doesn’t mean ‘stay away’. In fact, it usually means you should dive right in – besides, anybody can do the easy stuff.

‘Hard’ to me was going to be what I jumped into this past weekend as a participant at a Triathlon Training Camp. Nope, I did not decide to become a triathlete…I’m pretty happy to call myself an athlete – no ‘tri’ needed, so far. But when you get an invitation to come out to Tucson, AZ to train at your clients’ triathlete training camp…you don’t think twice. You go. Well, when you’re me, you go.

My client, Jen, runs this camp, where 8-12 of her athlete clients come down to Tucson, stay in a house together, train together, eat together, and have their lives filmed…no wait, that’s Real World…this is far less dramatic. Jen would guide us through workouts, push us, challenge us, and otherwise keep us honest. Sounds like a ton of fun to me, let’s do this! It was going to be hard…super, that’s what I wanted. This was not going to be a vacation…lovely, let’s do it. I knew I was going to be pushed & that’s exactly what I wanted. Frankly, I’m not sure what I was ever anxious about, because it wasn’t the training that gave me any nerves I may have had. I knew I’d be pushed to find new heights of my ability, and I knew within 2mins of the workouts starting that all these guys would be breaking away at their blistering speeds, so other than them possibly thinking, “good grief that girl is beginner compared to us,” there was no stress about competing against others. This was going to be me against myself…against the desert. Game on.

The biggest thing I took away from camp was, funny enough, exactly what I do at home as a profession -creating the most INTENTIONAL use of workout time. I do it all day for athletes, regular folks, anyone who is paying me, is paying me in part, for my skill at developing a workout that makes the best use of their time. Addresses their strengths, weaknesses, imbalances & areas for opportunity without any fluff that we don’t need. That’s exactly what I got from camp – a schedule designed so that I, and all the other campers, would push past our normal work-intensity, train through rest that we may otherwise have taken if were home, & dialed into techniques we were missing that were holding us back.

And work we did! I didn’t even do the bike workouts with the group (never gotten on a road bike, these people are monsters on the bike & it just wouldn’t have been safe) & I am leaving camp with a body that knows it did a lot of work. My work included: 1.5 hours of TRX strength workouts, 3h35mins of running workouts (steady climbing hills for 2hrs/flat course for 30mins/trail run with moderate incline for 1h5min), 1h5min of swimming (which was supposed to be 1h30m, but when I could no longer hold onto the wall without involuntary muscle twitching, I called it for the day) plus countless hours showing campers how to use the TRX & how to do different strength moves properly. And I was right, I thought it would be hard, and it was – but it was SO FUN.

Anyone could go out and put that kind of time in for a long weekend of training. But if it’s not intentional, then consider it a waste of time. There’s got to be a reason, a program, an end goal, something you’re working on improving for that time to be considered wisely spent. Just like I plan each stretch, exercise, movement prep series to be intentional to what my client needs, these training days were intentional to what we, as athletes, needed. Endurance, power, technique, eyes-on-us-coaching rather than just solo workouts that nobody is keeping you honest for besides yourself…that’s what we got by coming to training camp. And while, yes, it was hard – I’m leaving feeling like I worked hard, as hard as I hoped I would work. Training sessions were hard at times, but I never questioned my commitment to finishing whatever I started with all the effort & intention I could muster. I never let my mind wander too far from what I was to be focusing on (arms pumping, Jen’s butt running away from me saying, “keep up Kate, c’mon!” in her sweet voice, breathing more naturally while swimming…oh lord the swimming).

Even Jimmy Riccitello, who gave a great Day 1 speech/chat session with us & hung out with us on riding days, preached it: Be intentional – get out of what everyone else says their doing & do what you need to do – either stretch every day or don’t do it all i.e. no middle-sitting on your training program, do it or don’t, don’t do it half-a$$ (stretching is a point of contention with Jimmy) 😉 And I’ll throw my own two cents along with that…if you’re going to get it done, you better make every workout count for something, make good use of your time, and make it hard, whatever that is to you.

Enjoy a few pics of our athletes’ house, where we ran/biked, and a showcase of the ride up Mt. Lemmon!

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Posted in: fitness, me!