February 4th and 5th

On Being Invincible

“Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.” – Epictetus, Discourses, 1.18.21

My favorite Arcade Fire lyric goes “My body is a cage that keeps me from dancing with the one I love, but my mind holds the key.” I feel I better appreciate its message, these days.

Steady Your Impulses

“Don’t be bounced around, but submit every impulse to the claims of justice, and protect your clear conviction in every appearance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.22

The ability to pause and think is severely undervalued. I almost wonder whether, deep down, some people enjoy being more…manic? Really giving into the rollercoaster of emotions. I could certainly see how it allows you to more fully (though also perhaps, more naively) embrace the rapture of the highs. At the same time, the lows are so much more debilitating, and I’d argue they’re likely more frequent too. I also sense that, like gravity, things don’t tend to rest at the top; once in a lull, the inertia tends to be very strong.

I feel I have too much I want to accomplish to take the risk of being in that kind of black hole.

Know what you stand for, and defend it till the end.


First indoor meet for the sprinters yesterday!

  • Having some slow-mo videos for myself makes studying running mechanics so much easier.
    • Having elite and sub-elite next to each other also helps.
    • Coming out of the Altis bubble for the first time in 4 weeks is a shock.
  • Listening to Ameer on the Altis podcast is so enjoyable. He really is the genie.
    • Performs at his best when he’s having fun. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t get stressed. He loves competing. Competition is his fun.
    • Big world events are special, and there’s no guarantee you’ll go to another one. If your body can afford it, make a point of sucking it all in.
    • That is, until race day. Don’t let the enormity of the environment get in the way. You’ve raced a thousand times, this is like any other.
  • Some athletes need to recognize how their attitudes hold them back. Very self-perpetuating cycle here : crappy attitude, show up late, coach doesn’t give much attention, which enhances crappy attitude. Repeat. Just as the belief in a program can enhance the adaptations it generates, I am certain the opposite happens just as much.
  • AM is a mutant, and not only because he’s fast. Jas has mentioned how he has an otherwordly level of body awareness (“I wish all the athletes were like him! But then, I’d be out of a job.”) I think what’s even more special is the fact he can apparently manipulate his muscle tension to the task at hand – at least, enough so that Jas can notice it. Stu has already spoken about this before (see #2) and I bet it also relates to what Tom Myslinski is talking about here (at 1:34).

Some thoughts from Chidi’s acceleration presentation

  • Higher frequency out of the blocks might get you to 30m faster, but will likely mess you up long term : too much energy wasted and/or can’t get back into proper postures needed at MaxV.
    • Need to think about how that translates to paddling sports.
    • We don’t stay at MaxV, we get into race pace, which might be easier to find required postures.
    • Unlike running sprinting, our limbs move significantly more slowly. Controlling them, and in particular gaining back control over them, might be easier. If I have to bet, I’d say this is the bigger factor.
  • Elite men take about 55-65m to get to MaxV. Women take about 45-55m.
    • Sounds similar to my experiences, I believe.
  • Pushers vs Pullers is…
    • a spectrum, not divisions
    • fluid, i.e. somebody can be trained/taught in a way that can shift them along the the spectrum.

Finally, a talk from Stu, talking about whatever.

  • Know your key days of the micro, and build around that.
  • Know the key abilities you want the athletes to be able to do, know where they currently are, and connect the two linearly.
  • Very interesting to hear Stu’s evolution away from Dan’s training style.
    • Of note, Dan’s weight room workouts started to decrease only once he started going to the weight room himself. That’s when he started to notice how crushed the athletes were.
    • Always try the training yourself (or have good communication with an athlete who will test it out for you!)
  • I should start using this more often. Still, one of the few/only metrics to accurately reflect athlete fatigue.
  • The biopsychosocial model of pain should really be the biopsychosocial model of all physical inputs/outputs.
  • Therapy can serve three purposes : rehab, performance enhancement, regeneration. Often, it is used too exclusively for only the first point.
  • You can control intensity without having to ask them to go easier. Simply schedule some training the day prior. At the appropriate time in a calendar, you might want that.
  • Be very careful with outside help, because they might not respect the best communication paths and styles.
  • Feedback can be periodized, depending on amount of challenge you feel they need. Sometimes, it might be ok to lie about times, or not give performance feedback at all.
    • Who feels like giving me a summary of this?
    • Might be easier to just go through Nick Winkleman’s articles here and here.
  • Accept that when in the chaotic period of learning, a period when you are deliberately introducing variation to help stabilize motor mastery, objective performances will decrease.
    • Trust. They will come back up, and higher than before.
  • Volume and Intensity should be manipulated as a function of skill acquisition.
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