Training Through the Tunnel of Winter: Part 2

In the first offering of this series, I introduced Three Tips to Enlighten You the Through the Tunnel of Winter:

For this offering I’ve produced a short video to share with you:
I demonstrate the most essential element of the efficient and kinetically intelligent athlete.  It will optimize both your physical and mental performance.  I call it the

Universal Alignment Technique

 

I wish you health, harmony and clear vision for 2020!!

 

mq2
Universal Alignment Technique

Training Through the Tunnel of Winter

tunnel image

Photo by Bruno Thethe on Unsplash

Introduction

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.

axe-33991_1280

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!


 

image-neural-training-b-600x400

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.

Aging Athlete From Burnout to Brilliance: Part 2: Sharpen Your Axe

Wise ol’ Abe Lincoln had some sage advice: 

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”

abraham15But Abe wasn’t really known for his athleticism.  So, how can his advice to sharpen the axe help us shift from athletic burnout to artistic brilliance?

I’ve cut down many a tree and lots of brush – as a forester, coffee farmer, helicopter firefighter and wilderness trail hand.  Axe, cross-cut or chainsaw, if your tool is dull, it’s not an efficient use of your time and energy. 

Well, the same is true for endurance sports! 

  • Running with a dull instrument, it’s going to be a slow and painful slog.  Burnout.
  • Running with a sharp instrument, we’re going to move quickly, precisely and efficiently.  Brilliance.

Endurance Artist: What is your instrument?  

dancing woman wearing blue vest
Photo by Edgar Martínez on Pexels.com

Your instrument is your body.  This is the instrument you “play” to swim, bike, run.  Heck, it’s the instrument you live through!!  No body, no life!

And how do you keep it sharp?

Sharpening your instrument begins with sharp perception.

And this is the advantage of age!!  

 The sharper your perception, the more precision you command as you swim, bike and run.  And, the faster you learn.  To maximize return on your aerobic investment:  Sharpen the axe of your perceptive acuity every time you are training your aerobic capacity. 

There are no limits!!  Over decades of patient training (and a true love for our craft), we accrue knowledge and cultivate wisdom.  Precision, agility, grace and efficiency will continue to improve.

How?

Book One of the Kaizen-durance Series is your manual for sharpening your endurance axe.  Preview Book One here.

Go Deep: Go Inward

image-neural-training-b-600x400As endurance artists, we need to focus on sharpening our inner perception:  Brilliant performance – for the musician and the swimmer alike – requires sharp inner awareness.  We need a seamless interface of body and mind to execute with precision. 

Violin technique or swim technique: The precision of both is infinite: There are no limits to perceptive capacity and acuity. 

Without the sharp axe of perceptive brilliance, technique is sloppy.

With patience and perseverance we seize the opportunity to strengthen the body-brain interface every time we train – day-after-day for decades, well beyond the aerobic prime of youth.

As endurance artists, the axe we sharpen is our perceptive capacity and acuity.

Brilliant perception leads to brilliant action.   

Without brilliant perception, we’re wielding a sledge hammer, not an axe:  MaximalSledge muscular and metabolic fitness won’t make any difference as we smash away.  Sure, we’ll be able to swing that sledge a bit longer, but we aren’t cutting wood; we’re just bludgeoning the tree… and our bodies.

For the athlete, the focus is mind over matter.  For the artist, it’s mind IN matter.

Sharpen Your Endurance Arts Axe:

Thinking “real hard” about chopping down the tree won’t improve the effectiveness of using a sledge hammer.  Instead, sharpen your endurance axe!  Here are some suggestions:

  • As you begin each training session, focus on what you are feeling.  You can’t improve your technique if you aren’t interfacing with your body.
  • Invest deeply in your perceptions: Discover something new about your craft through your sense-felt experience each time you train.  This is how you love your craft.
  • As you train, try this affirmation:

“Finesse is stronger than force.”

Aging Athlete: From Burnout to Brilliance: Part 1: Love Your Craft

Athletes decline with age.  Artists improve.” 

Introduction: Becoming an Endurance Artist

Discover a stronger, more enduring passion for training and a new talent for racing – all with less effort and less time training.  In this blog series, I offer tips for your transformation from athlete to artist, based on my decades of experience.  In this first blog: Love Your Craft!

Dancing to the Finish Line

I’m 62 years wise now.  At age 19, as I pursued a degree in Modern Dance.   “Dancing in leotards and tights?  What does that have to do with endurance sports?”

bib_circle

I have translated that arts-approach into decades of ultra running and triathlon.  How about a 500-mile, 99-hour ultra triathlon in 2016, at age 59? “Moving Beyond ALS” was a solo event to raise money and awareness about ALS.  Read more here

Far more rewarding than the glory of so many finish lines: As an endurance artist for over 40 years, my daily journey of discovery and my passionate pursuit of mastery has tempered the human being I am today.  And it keeps getting better!!

Check out the first book ever written about the endurance arts!  Book One of my series “Kaizen-durance Your Aerobic Path to Mastery”

“I just finished reading Book One. Good stuff! It fills a gap that urgently needs filling in the endurance domain–and gave me some practical takeaways to use in my own athletic pursuits.”  – Matt Fitzgerald, Author of more than 20 books and former editor of Triathlete and Competitor magazines

Let’s get started with the topic of this first blog of the series.

Love Your Craft!

Great artists are passionately driven to produce brilliant works of art.  So, what’s at the heart of that passionate drive?  What fuels the masters over a lifetime? 

It is the love of their craft.

people woman art hand
Photo by Gimmeges on Pexels.com
  • Great musicians are motivated each day to practice and improve their technique and hone their unique “voice” – the style and sound that distinguishes each from the others.  Age enhances their virtuosity and versatility.  There are no limits.
  • Great writers sit each day to engage and challenge their word-smithing skills.  Age improves their mastery and the wisdom they reveal.  There are no limits.
  • Great painters are driven each day to the rigor of drawing and painting what they see.  Age empowers their pursuit of excellence.  There are no limits.

“Age enhances. Age improves. Age empowers. There are no limits.”  Can this really be true for endurance sports? 

As endurance artists, we accrue wisdom that empowers highly effective training and inspires brilliant racing.  When we love our craft, we invest deeply.  We embrace each and every training session as a rich opportunity to invest, discover, and improve.  It gets better with age!!

In Book One of the Kaizen-durance series, we explore the wisdom of the master athlete/artist, and how to live it every day. 

What is your craft as an endurance artist? 

The most essential part of your craft is your technique.  It is your ability to craft great swim strokes or running strides with precision, agility, grace and efficiency.   Like the painter, you will complete your greatest race as you craft one perfect stroke or stride at a time.

As an artist, there are no limits to the excellence and mastery you can achieve. 

Here’s how to love your craft:

athlete bike black and white cycle
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • Each time you train, uncover something new in your skill. 
  • Summon your curiosity. 
  • Invest your full attention in each moment to maximize the return on your aerobic investment.
  • Like a dancer, focus on the craft of your movement – each and every movement.  Strive for graceful seamless perfection. 
  • Each stride or stroke – whether fast or slow – is essential to our craft and our achievements.
  • Focus on cultivating Kinetic Intelligence – your wisdom as an endurance artist.

For the athlete, the focus is mind over matter.  For the artist, it’s mind IN matter. 

Are There Performance Benefits?

Like athletes, artists also focus on performance.  Here are some of the benefits I experience by pursuing the craft of endurance arts – specifically the art of running:

  • Train less: In 2017 (at age 60), the longest training run before my first 50-mile ultra
    CT Finish
    Cayuga Trails 50 Finish!

    trail run of the season: 16 miles.  I finished the Cayuga Trails 50 strong!  And still rode my bike the 5 miles back home.  As an endurance artist, you can train less when you intensely focus on perfecting your craft during every session, and still enjoy reaching your goals.

  • Recover faster: In 2018, I ran the JFK 50-Mile, slept 90 minutes, drove 3 1/2 hours and ran the  Philadelphia Marathon – with even splits for the first and second halves.  (I ran another marathon 6 days later.)  As an endurance artist, you can recover fast because you use finesse, not force.  And you minimize the risk of injury!
  • Finish strong: Endurance athletes often fade and slow down as the performance progresses.  Artists build to a strong finale.  How?  As endurance artists, we focus on crafting each stride, each stroke perfectly, from start to finish.  This optimizes our grace and efficiency.  And it leads to very effective pacing.  I often run close to even splits for 50-mile ultra runs and finish with grace.

Find Out More

The Kaizen-durance Book Series is your resource for the endurance arts:

Share

Share your experiences as an endurance artist here.

Correspond

Email me here.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Exercise: Mastery for Life

Make It Count!

How much time and energy do you devote to exercise?  Do you wonder if your devotion is too self-serving – especially if it means less time with family, or interruptions from work? 

Well, rest assured!  Your endurance-based exercise can go much farther than forging a stronger body.  It really can be a worthy investment for your mental, emotional and spiritual health & performance as well. 

Maximize the return on your investment:  Turn your daily exercise into a PRACTICE.

bib_circleThis won’t require any more time and energy than you already devote to the daily grind of your workouts.   But it will feel more like “flow” and less like grind – before, during and after.

Workout vs Practice: What’s the Difference?   

  • Your daily workout is the “get-it-done-now” on your To-Do List that keeps your body fit for one more day.  It’s the next mandatory step in your training plan towards your race goal. 
  • String together these daily workouts as a consistent and enduring practice to get long-term benefits that profoundly enhance the quality of your life and the lives of those around you.  How?  It’s all about…

Mastery

We all strive for balance, harmony and empowerment – especially in our relationships, occupation, family, recreation.  In a single word, we all want mastery.  Endurance-based exercise is an effective practice to develop the skills of mastery we need.

I call this practice “Kaizen-durance”: Lifelong improvement – that’s mastery – through endurance-based exercise: Here’s the most important element of practice: Focus on mindfulness.  Why?

Mindfulness is the foundation of mastery. 

What is mindfulness? Mind fitness.

image-neural-training-b-600x400Instead of just working out and “hitting the numbers” (like heart rate, miles, minutes and watts) focus on the quality of each stroke and each stride.  Make each one count!!  Train your mind fitness while you train your physical fitness.  Live healthy, pursue mastery. 

The result?

  • More engaging and stimulating exercise
  • Less risk of injury and burnout
  • Increase efficiency and grace
  • Better performance – better numbers
  • A sharp, focused and highly functional mind
  • Increase return on your investment

To live healthy, master the Fitness Cycle.

The Fitness Cycle has three phases:

  • Stress
  • Recovery
  • Adaptation

All growth occurs through this cycle – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.  Like it or not, stress is the essential vector for growth. 

We pursue mastery most effectively by developing a healthy relationship with stress.

cheetah.jpgEach exercise session is an opportunity to strengthen your mental fitness and your skills of mastery.  Each session is an opportunity to forge your alliance with stress.

Problem:  “I can’t recover from stress.  My health is compromised.”

Solution: Transform your relationship with stress.  A Kaizen-durance approach to exercise empowers you to do this.

Maximize return on your aerobic investment.  When we approach the repetition of endurance-based exercise as a practice of mindful movement, our exercise doubles for both physical fitness and mind fitness.  Through exercise, we learn to master the Fitness Cycle and build life fitness.

Be here now.  There is no place else you can be but here and now: You can’t be in the past.  You can’t be in the future. And, you can’t be anywhere else but where you are.  Mind fitness is your capacity to invest and engage all facets of your attention with what is arising here and now. 

Want to be brilliant? Be here now.

Get Started Now!

CLT StartOver the past four decades, I have developed and used this kaizen-durance approach with great results – as an athlete, as an educator, and as a whole, healthy human being.  I have also devoted considerable time and energy developing a method and writing a series of books to support you in your pursuit of life fitness and mastery.

Start with Book One of the Kaizen-durance series.  It’s a short, entertaining and easy-to-read guide that will inspire and orient you.

Four Ways to Bullet-Proof Your Running

Forty Years of Running: Less Than Ten Injuries.  How? 

Efficiency and grace.spring-dual-run

Efficiency plus grace equals bullet-proof?  Here are four ways to safeguard your running without wearing kevlar:

  • Improve your alliance with gravity
  • Educate your core
  • Soft, supple and sensitive feet
  • Pound less pavement

(For more on these four, see “Bulletproofing Methods” just below)

Is Running Your “Drug of Choice”? 

If running is a vital lifeline for you like it is for me, you have to minimize your risk of injury.  Along with these four tips, there are specific key skills to running that are quite subtle, yet very profound and absolutely essential to lifelong running.  I have discovered and developed these over my decades of ultra running.  I’ve created methods for teaching them through my extensive experience as a technique coach.  Bring them all together and you:

  • Run with your whole body   
  • Minimize ground time and maximize flight time

It’s impossible to guide you to whole-body running with words alone.  That’s why I created The Running Lab.  Interested in hosting a Running Lab?  Contact me.

Bulletproofing Methods

Improve Your Alliance with Gravity

Among endurance sports, running is notorious for injuries.  Why? Impact: We get injured when we hit the ground.  We blame it on gravity.  And yet…

If we forge an alliance with gravity, we transform that enemy of impact into the force of propulsion.  Efficient running technique begins with this partnership.  It’s the foundation.  In The Running Lab, you will learn a sequence of drills and running exercises to forge your personal alliance.

We translate the (vertical) pull of gravity into (horizontal) forward movement.  I call this alliance “Effortless Power”.

 

Educate Your Core

The primary source of lower joint running injuries (foot, ankle and knee) is a poorly trained and uneducated core.  By “core” I mean your whole torso:

  • Spine
  • Pelvic girdle
  • Pectoral girdle* (See below)
  • Matrix of nerves, muscles and connective tissues from your shoulders to your hips that connect these two girdles together

“Core work” is not about six-pack abs.  Read that heading again:  Educate Your Core”.  Muscular strength is only part of a bulletproof core.  Design and implement a regimen of exercises that educate your core to be articulate and responsive to all of the forces you encounter as you run – vertical, lateral, fore-aft, rotational.  Stop forcing your feet, ankles and knees to compensate for poor core function and instability.

Education is neural.  Along with muscle and connective tissue strength, your core education targets neural training. This is the path to kinetic intelligence.

Muscles_that_Position_the_Pectoral_Girdle

* Yes, your pectoral girdle: Your shoulders, scapulae, upper spine and neck are critical to efficient whole-body running.  They comprise your “Swing Set”.  In the Running Lab, we focus first on creating a stable Swing Set.

 

Let Your Feet and Ankles be Supple and SensitiveBones

Look at your feet and ankles:

  • Feet: Many small joints, with very little muscle mass. 
  • Ankles: Two highly articulate joints that move in every plane, again with very little muscle

 

Let’s be honest here:  Each foot and ankle is a sensitive and articulate instrument.  It is not designed to stabilize the towering hulk of mass that looms and teeters above it.

Your feet and ankles excel at three things when you run:

  • Respond as a supple and highly articulate suspension system to cushion your ground contact
  • Interface each foot contact with constantly varying surface conditions such as pitch, camber, terrain
  • Provide instant sensory information to your hips and pelvis so that you can stabilize from your core

When your core is educated, your feet and ankles can perform brilliantly.  Stop forcing them to be stabilizers.  And stop trying to protect these instruments with rigid tension, or with shoes that restrict their articulation or muffle their sensitivity.  Let them dance when you run.

Pound Less Pavement

Vary the terrain you run.  Let your body train and articulate its agility by responding to a constantly changing running surface. Mixed terrain running is the most effective way to improve your running craft: PAGES running strides for all conditions.

PAGES:

  • Precise
  • Aligned
  • Graceful
  • Efficient
  • Seamless

Explore PAGES in Book One of the Kaizen-durance Series

Maximize Return on Aerobic Investment: 80/20+100=200%

Combine 80/20 Metabolic Training With 100% Neural Training

80/20 MetabolicHRwave

This is the optimal ratio of low aerobic intensity in proportion to moderate-high aerobic intensity training that optimizes your metabolic fitness and health as an endurance athlete.  The 80/20 Method greatly simplifies the metabolic science of training – making it accessible to anyone, with or without monitors, meters or GPS.  Beyond simplicity, this 80/20 ratio is the foundation of almost every successful elite and professional endurance athlete. 

Optimizing aerobic fitness doesn’t have to be complicated or elaborate.  Renowned author Matt Fitzgerald, in collaboration with David Warden, recently published “80/20 Triathlon” – a comprehensive training guide for the 80/20 Method.  This book is invaluable for every multisport athlete – novice to elite – especially those who self-coach.

 

 

100 Neuralimage-neural-training-b-600x400

As C.E.W. of Kaizen-durance and as a lifelong endurance artist, I emphasize the pursuit of Kinetic Intelligence (KI) as the priority in your daily training for an engaging, empowering lifelong pursuit of mastery through endurance athletics. 

Do you have to compromise aerobic fitness and focus exclusively on neural fitness to pursue Kinetic Intelligence – the wisdom of the master athlete?  No!

80/20 Plus 100image-kinetic-intel-b-600x400

If you really want to maximize return on your aerobic investment, you can and you should pursue both metabolic and neural fitness during each training session.  It is possible and practical to successfully optimize both without complicating your training sessions, and without increasing your training load.  The 80/20 Method actually supports our emphasis on neural fitness.  And the patient pursuit of KI through mindful rigorous neural training supports 80/20.

80/20 Brief Overview

To illustrate this, let’s start with a brief overview of 80/20.

  • The “80” in this method is the percentage of time (not distance) you should be training at low intensity – at or below your Ventilatory Threshold (VT).  VT is slightly below Lactate Threshold (LT).  This is your “base” training.
  • The “20” in this method is the percentage of time you should be training at moderate-to-high intensity – at or above LT.  (See Matt’s book for specifics on what delineates moderate- from high-intensity.)
  • Most self-coached athletes habitually train in the “gray zone” between VT and LT when they are targeting base training: “Easy” is not really easy. This compromises aerobic fitness and performance.  (Neural training is also less effective.)
  • Most self-coached athletes either train too little or too much at moderate-to-high intensity.  This too compromises fitness.
  • Base training above VT, and excessive moderate-to-high intensity training at and above LT increase the risk of mechanical injury, as well as the hormonal imbalance of overtraining that leads to sickness, long-term burnout and steady fitness decline.  I learned this the hard way when I first got into triathlon 20 years ago.  It took me almost two years to recover from Chronic Adrenal Fatigue.  The severe endocrine imbalance almost killed me.   

This is a grossly simplified overview of the 80/20 Method.  Read 80/20 Triathlon for a working knowledge and guidance.

The Dilemmaswimimage

  • When athletes initially buy into and implement 80/20, they find that training at or below VT for 80% of the time feels very slow.  Very slow leads to impatience and insecurity.
  • Impatience leads to either disregard or boredom.  Insecurity leads to either panic or abandonment.  How can we stay engaged, confident and motivated as we patiently build that base? 
  • One alternative: Switch to auto-pilot and just put in the junk miles.  Ho-hum.  Face the boredom now and hope for the glory later.
  • Another alternative: As you build that base, maximize return on your aerobic investment by simultaneously training the Four Vectors of Kaizen-durance Mastery.  Improve your skill as an endurance artist beyond just aerobic fitness.

Four Vectors of Kaizen-durance Masterymindrun

  • Mindfulness
  • Neural Training
  • Kinetic Intelligence
  • Alliance with Gravity

While your aerobic fitness is limited, your capacity for mindfulness, neural fitness, KI and the strength of your alliance with gravity are infinite:  You can always improve.

PAGES

  • Training at or slightly below your VT is the perfect opportunity to cultivate and develop these four vectors.  And they are the foundation of PAGES technique:
  • Precise
  • Aligned
  • Graceful
  • Efficient
  • Seamless

Why not invest in every stride and every stroke, regardless of your speed or aerobic intensity? 

Why not strive continually for PAGES?  Maximize return on your aerobic investment.  If you are going to put in the time, go for the maximum return.

Optimal Operating Environmentoperate environ

In a previous blog, we explored the function of our metabolic system: It provides the working systems of body and brain with an operating environment: 

  • When that environment is hostile (hypoxic, acidic, etc) our muscles, nerves and brain struggle to function well. 
  • When that environment is optimal we perform well and we learn most effectively.
  • If you enroll in a college class that is held in a cold dark lecture hall with no sound system for the professor’s lecture, you will struggle to learn.  If you are chronically fatigued and inefficient at converting O2 and energy into movement, you will also struggle to improve.

During your low intensity 80 training, you are maintaining an optimal operating environment.

80 is Opportunity

During that (ho-hum) 80% of your training, when you are training with an optimal operating environment:

  • Your metabolic system is gradually improving its ability to provide that optimal environment at faster speed, for longer duration.  Gradually you perform better.  However you can learn faster immediately.
  • These are perfect conditions to hone your PAGES technique right now!!  This is the learning part of training: Lots of time and opportunity to hone your craft as an endurance artist.  You are acquiring Kinetic Intelligence – wisdom of the master athlete.
  • As you improve your PAGES, you are more efficient.  You begin to go faster at or below VT.  This means you can sustain your pace for longer distances: Endurance!
  • You reduce your risk of injury, illness and burnout.
  • You also train mindfulness skills.  These skills are your greatest asset, essential to your functionality and performance in every area of life.

20 is Also Opportunity

  • Make the most out of your limited precious moderate- and high-intensity training.  This too is an opportunity to pursue mastery:
  • Learn to maintain PAGES even when the operating environment is sub-optimal.
  • Learn how to adapt your PAGES technique to faster paces: efficient speed.
  • Learn how to remain calm, relaxed, mindful and vigilant when you are experiencing discomfort and pain.
  • High-intensity endurance training also trains mindfulness.  It trains you to cope and function well during the high-stress moments of your life outside of sports.

Foundation First

You must build, strengthen and maintain your foundation: To invest well in your “80”, diligently pursue the Four Vectors of Mastery and the endless quest for PAGES technique.  There is no limit to Precision, Alignment, Grace, Efficiency and Seamlessness: You can always improve your virtuosity. 

As an artist, here is my advice during your 80: Be patient, curious, engaged and grateful every time you train, every time you practice.

100% Neuralneural

We train three physiological systems:

  • Muscles
  • Metabolic
  • Neural

The neural system is the one that improves the most.  It will continue to improve far beyond your peak aerobic potential, as you (dare I say it) age.  Neural training is the portal for mastery that transports you from endurance sports to endurance arts.  Train neural fitness with each stroke, each stride.  Experience and enjoy a sense of enduring mastery over a lifetime.

Case Studybib_circle

For over four decades, I have targeted neural fitness and KI during my daily training sessions.  Using the 80/20 method, I have enjoyed now 18 years of great training and racing, with very few injuries, free from any recurrence of overtraining endocrine burnout.  I continue to experience consistent improvement, and an ever deeper engagement in the craft of endurance arts. 

Check out Zeman’s Bio for a summary of my race history.

Resources

  • 80/20 Aerobic: Check out 80/20 Triathlon: “Discover the breakthrough elite-training formula of ultimate [metabolic] fitness and performance – at all levels”.  This book is well-organized, easy-to-follow, clear and concise.  I highly recommend this resource for those who self-coach, and those who may question or doubt the advice of the coach.
  • 100 Neural: Check out Kaizen-durance, Your Aerobic Path to Mastery.  This book series delves deeply into the seldom-explored phenomenon of neural training and fitness.  This is your resource for the endurance arts.