Training Through the Tunnel of Winter

tunnel image

Photo by Bruno Thethe on Unsplash


Winter can be a long, dark, cold tunnel for endurance athletes who focus on warm weather sports: swim, bike or run.  The guiding light of next season’s goal races is a long way down that tunnel, just a pin hole.  So…

  • How do you ignite yourself to train through another tunnel of winter? (Besides increasing the daily doses of caffeine?)
  • How do you maximize return on your aerobic investment?
  • Will you emerge at the other end of the tunnel blinded by the light, or traveling at light speed?


Three Tips to Enlighten You Through the Tunnel of Winter

  1. Sharpen your axe.
  2. Get wired: Go neural.
  3. Match your aerobic fitness with mind fitness.


Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay


1) Sharpen Your Axe 

Abe Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”  That’s four hours of prep time before two hours of performance.  So, how do you sharpen your axe for the 2020 season?  Focus on “P.A.G.E.S.”

Let me explain:
Conventional training methods emphasize building aerobic base as you travel through that long dark tunnel of winter.   Monotonous as this can be, you need to avoid the “auto-pilot” of junk miles if you really want to

Maximize your Return on Aerobic Investment

Base training is your Golden Opportunity!!

  • The low-moderate aerobic intensity and the freedom from goals in the near future make winter the ideal time to improve the efficiency of your technique.
  • Aerobic base improves your cardio vascular system, essential to a successful season.  But it’s not just your heart and lungs that propel you to the finish line of your event.
  • It’s your swim strokes, pedal strokes and run strides.

As you roll through the tunnel of winter building that endurance base – on the trainer, the treadmill, and in the pool – make each and every stroke and stride count: Craft each one as “P.A.G.E.S.” as you can:

  • Precise
  • Aligned
  • Graceful
  • Efficient
  • Seamless

Every time you train, do more than “hit the numbers”.  Improve your technique.  This maximizes the return on your training investment: A strong aerobic system driving poor “junk miles” technique leads to injury, not maximum performance.

PAGES strokes and strides make the most out your aerobic fitness.

Book One of the Kaizen-durance series guides you to “sharpen your axe” as you build your aerobic base.  No additional time training.  It’s your introduction to PAGES.


Nervous System

2) Get Wired. Go Neural.

As an endurance athlete, you train three physiologic systems:

  • Muscles
  • Metabolic (a.k.a. aerobic)
  • Neural

The focus of your aerobic base training is… well, it’s your aerobic system.  This is essential.  This is your engine.  But what about those efficient “PAGES” strokes and strides that propel you from start to finish?  What system do you need to train to maximize the potential of your aerobic capacity?

You must train your neural system.  The slogan that headlines the back cover of each book in my new Kaizen-durance series:

Athletes decline with age.  Artists improve.

Our “art” as endurance athletes?  Those PAGES strokes and strides.  You can improve your PAGES for decades beyond your aerobic prime.  You do this when you also focus on neural training.  Now you are accruing wisdom as an athlete:

The wisdom of kinetic intelligence

This is the key to maximize return on your aerobic investment – both short term and long term.

Master your technique through neural fitness.

Book Two of the Kaizen-durance series is titled “A Guide to Neural Fitness”.  While everyone else is struggling through the monotonous tunnel of winter with a narrow focus on aerobic base and “hitting the numbers”, you’ll expand exponentially by building your neural fitness while you build that aerobic base.  

Two for one!



3) Mind Fitness

You can only perform to the potential of your weakest link.  If you narrowly focus on your aerobic fitness, but your technique is weak, you won’t realize your potential.  Technique training is neural training.

Neural training is the articulate interface
of your body with your mind.  

You may score high for your age in a VO2 max test.  But if your mind is constantly wandering or easily upset, your body-mind interface is weak and your aerobic capacity squandered.  Mind fitness forges that interface.  It is essential for neural fitness.

With mind fitness:

  • You focus longer (endurance)
  • You are calm in the face of challenge (strength)
  • You respond brilliantly to what is arising right now (speed, precision) – even when it is not “part of the plan”

Mind fitness empowers you to maximize your performance by maintaining your PAGES for the duration of your event, at the highest sustainable pace, as you respond brilliantly to the current conditions.

Many athletes train their minds to focus on “hitting the numbers” – heart rate, power, pace, time.  This can impair and distract your body-brain interface and decrease PAGES.

Using your current training program, maximize return on your aerobic investment: Train mind fitness skills, at the same time.

Book Three of the Kaizen-durance series is titled “Mind Fitness Training for Endurance Athletes”.  It guides you to strengthen your body-mind interface during your training sessions, without compromising your aerobic fitness.

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