December 03, 2004

the roll of the year

Until I decide whether I want to retire or not, I need to keep training as if I won't. I'd want to finish out the Holiday Challenge anyway, because I'm far too stubborn to stop in the middle of it. It will be an easy one for me this year, because I'm neither traveling during part of it nor worrying about whether I can do it - this is my fourth time around so I know I can. I do have to compensate for missing one day a week when I fly instead (I fly twice a week but the other one is a weekend day) but to compensate there's more time between Thanksgiving and Xmas than in some years.

This is really the beginning of the rowing/training year, when we lay a foundation built of meter upon meter of solid distance. For this month, I don't have to do long distances; my focus is on doing it every day, or nearly, though I will do a half-marathon or two just to shorten the time to completion or get in a little extra meterage. Rudder, who trains a bit more seriously, is laying his foundation on the water as well as in the gym and is getting in his erg meters in long bursts.

Once I've completed this challenge, I will move back onto the water to augment the plain stonework of distance with the tracery of technique, and into the gym to bolster it with strength work from weightlifting, like adding in steel rebar. Next I'll start varying my workout with intervals, like laying a pattern in my brickwork. The periods of the intervals will grow shorter as I get through an early local race and move toward the time of my bigger races, until I'm doing pieces of 300 to 1000 meters in May as I prepare for the Goldrush, where I race those distances. Then I'll either take a week off and just try to maintain for a while, or train more intensely, concentrating on 1000m pieces, if I decide to race in the World Masters Games. (We're going anyway, because Rudder is racing; it's just a question of whether I race or only watch.)

In fall we move into longer pieces for head race season. I probably won't be doing head races because I just don't like racing over the longer distance, but it's possible that I'll be doing the marathon in a single, in which case I'll be doing lots of half-marathon pieces in the boat and on the erg, or coxing at the Head of the Charles again, in which case I need to prepare for that. Also, if we go to Austin for the PumpkinHead I may race it, just because I like their course very much. Or maybe I'll just play pit crew, helping Rudder and She-Hulk and any others there with their boats.

The training year is like the rotation of the season, the long slow beat of winter quickening to the staccato of summer then lengthening out again in the fall. The changes make training more interesting, and though the pattern is the same every year, like the seasons each year is just a little different, as we try to find the ideal training plan.

Maybe I won't retire. Whatever would I write about then?

Thankful for: a holiday season to look forward to, with parties and gifts and (best of all) visitors and time off from work to enjoy them. Also, since I forgot to do this yesterday, for a body that, which it may not be fast, is strong and healthy and lets me do anything I want to, at least at some level.

Holiday Challenge: 137829 meters left

Posted by dichroic at December 3, 2004 09:23 AM

I know what you mean about how hard it is to keep endurance gains--the body holds on to muscle but stamina seems to evaporate in no time. Kills me.

You put in punishing hours, and I can see how those hours would curtail a social life. Hard choices, eh?

I notice you don't ping Blogrolling, so I don't ever get a notice when you update. Joined your list, but there's another solution, too. will allow you to ping whatever you're indexed with. Very helpful :)

Posted by: Marn, eh at December 3, 2004 07:50 PM
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