I have just come to the end of a wonderful 6 weeks in southern Spain, where I have enjoyed either running, biking or swimming in the glorious sunshine every single day (well there were a few grey and colder days, but those are quickly forgotten ). I will be continuing my training in the UK, although the weather, the environment and the roads will certainly compare negatively to Valencia, and then on to Japan, where the sheer density of population and the high-speed way of life can make any training a real chore.
The forced inactivity of travel always gives me the opportunity to read and think which, along with solo long bike, runs and long showers, is when I come up with some of my best(and worst) ideas. (Quick note – I avoid thinking too much during pool swims as I tend to confuse what I’ve done and what I have to do, which can be frustrating to say the least).
The flight from Alicante to London, is a quick 3hr hop, and I used the time to start reading a book I’ve been carrying around for sometime – Joe Friel’s “Fast after 50”. I have only read the first three chapters, but it is fascinating and sets out the basic premise that while slowing down with age is inevitable, for an athlete, it doesn’t need to be anywhere near as dramatic as affects the “normal” population -(normal being used to describe the majority of sedentary population who don’t exercise seriously and who’s life habits cause so many of what we consider normal aging decline). It also seems to show a clear link between reduced level of high intensity training and reduced level of athletic performance , and how that while LSD (long slow distance) training can help us live longer , it doesn’t stop us slowing down.
It really made me think as I, along with the vast majority of ageing athletes, am definitely guilty of swapping hard fast workout with simpler long slow distance. It made me think again about my desire to get fast enough to move from back of the pack to the sharp end of the pack, and “gasp”… maybe one day qualify for Kona.
This is all good timing as due to a friend of mine encouraging me to investigate MAF training ( Maximum Aerobic Function – which I’ll discuss in a later blog), and an upgrade to the new Garmin watch with wrist heart rate monitor, I discovered that my bike training is below Level 2 intensity, which would help explain why I remain so slow. I haven’t been too sure how I can improve that, so I’m hoping that Joe’s book will give me some pointers!
I should have time to read the rest of the book within the next week as I will be travelling pretty constantly, and hopefully it will continue to inspire me and give me the ideas and motivation to change up my training and instead of slowing down as I age, be one of the few who gets faster after fifty!