Sunday, August 16, 2009

Divide and conquer

I think of the strangest things during workouts, and at the time they seem so important, I promise myself that I will go home and record them instantly. But rarely these days do I. Life is still tipped out of balance but I am continuing on my quest to re-establish balance for myself and the family the best I can. It's a constant struggle.

Similarly, workouts are by their nature a constant struggle, but I have tricks to help manage those. One way is to divide everything up into more manageable amounts. In the gym, I tend to think of sets in terms of thirds. If I'm shooting for 15 reps, I think of the first 5 as warm-ups, the next 5 as the working group, then the final 5 are the go-for-broke ones that count the most. Those are the ones where you grow and adapt and challenge your focus and determination.

Runs I tend to think of as two halves. The first half is mentally "uphill" and the second is "downhill" (regardless of terrain; it's a mental thing). If I can just focus on that first half, I KNOW I can do the second half. Even so, I am constantly calculating the fraction or percentage that I have run. It just seems to keep my mind busy and out of trouble. I've had some runs lately that consist of repeats of short "ups" and "downs" like 3 minutes up (pushing it, tempo), 2 minutes down (easy aerobic) and the nice thing with those is it's easy to convince yourself that you can do practically anything for just 3 minutes.

Swimming workouts are the most diverse of the bunch with drills, longer sets, shorter sets, different intervals and cycles. Those I just take one set at a time, staying in the moment, thinking breathing, technique, body position, relaxation, efficiency, and OF COURSE, counting laps. If it's more than a few laps, I have to concentrate pretty hard to remember how many I've done. Although I'm consistent enough at this point I should be able to figure it out from my watch.

How does this translate to life? Well, I think I could do a better job of separating things out into smaller more manageable segments to help with focus and tracking my progress. The better I can define how to spend my time, the easier it is to drill down and do it.

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