Flexibility Is The Key To Mental And Physical Strength

[caption id="attachment_8610" align="alignright" width="283"]flexibility - ironman - training - triathlon Staying Flexible During Ironman Training Will Help Mentally And Physically.
Source: Work Place Flexibility[/caption] Flexibility is not a word that many, if any, would use to describe me.  I got to yoga and it has helped with my swimming, but that isn't what I am talking about.  When it comes to flexibility I am talking about training overall.  I am OCD and Type A (surprise, surprise!) and when there is a box to check on training I want to check that box and I want to check it off now.  I try to set up my day to be as efficient as possible.  The less time I spend on traveling and the more time I spend training the better it is for me. These days with no boxes to check I have been on the Matt Oravec No Training Plan, Training Plan and I have learned flexibility along the way.  Throw in the fact that we have moved and now my routine is starting all over again, especially at the pool.  I have joined the local YMCA and they have open swim starting at 5am, but the problem is getting there.  If I don't wake up and jump out of bed I am never getting to the pool in time to get in a solid workout because I have drive Chico to daycare which means being home by 7am.  That just isn't happening.  So, I am showcasing my flexibility by going to swim at lunch when there is open swim again. Part of this flexibility has been born out of the changes in my life but also out of a conversation I had with a mentor a month or so ago.  During the conversation we discussed the fact that I was finished with the 3 Ironman races and how great my body was feeling again.  While we were talking she used the word obsessed and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was/am obsessed with getting the workouts in because part of me was scared about getting to the finish line, another part of me was concerned with getting their faster and faster and the last part of me said that if I don't check that box off at that time then I would never get the workout in.  In the past two months that mindset has changed and I think that will bring a better training cycle when I begin to train for Ironman #4 in 2014.

Flexibility And The Benefits To Changing On The Fly

As I mentioned above I like having my day set and having that consistency in place.  A simple look would be: wake-up, workout, day care, breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner, family snack, TV, bed.  I could drill it down even further than that but that is now changing.  Here is what I have learned over the last two days with a more flexible schedule when it comes to training:
  1. Shocking The Body: I have learned in the past couple of months that my body got accustomed to the early workouts and it got comfortable.  Unfortunately, if you want to set PRs or go faster you have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  I notice that when I swim in the afternoon that I am exhausted immediately after and have to work hard to be productive.  This will happen in an Ironman race as well.  You will get tired and it will be then that you must focus even more to have a successful day.
  2. Keeping Balance With Family/Friends: Learning to work with a spouse who is an ultra-marathoner seemed to be easy, until she broker her ankle and working out was out of the question along with needed my help to do everyday things.  By pushing my workouts around I am able to help Karen with items around the house and still get my workout.  The box is still getting checked and that satisfies my needs, but I am more of a husband and so I am satisfying family needs.
  3. Staying Within Yourself: By this I mean that you are not doing more than you can and should be doing.  Typically if the schedule showed a 2 hour run well then I would get that 2 hour run in.  If it said 3 hour bike I would pedal for three hours and nothing shorter than that.  Now, there are times when that 3 hour ride that I want to do has to be cut short to 2h30m and that is fine.  My body appreciates the shortened time but it does not mean that I am in less shape.  I feel that I could get out there and compete at a 70.3 even though my training has not been at an intensity level it had been in the past.  This is not to say that if you have 5 and 6 hour bike rides scheduled that you cut them short to 3 hours.  You need those hours in the saddle to be ready for an Ironman but simultaneously be flexible and you will still get to the starting line in great shape to compete.
These three benefits of staying flexible are items to keep in mind when you hit that register button.  If you can remain flexible during your training then you will get to the starting line in great shape while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I know that when I, finally, decide what my 2014 race schedule looks like that I will work with Maria and John of No Limits Endurance on setting up a training plan that fits into my lifestyle which will include flexibility.

Is Flexibility A Part Of Your Training Plan?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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