Tuesday, April 29, 2014

For 65 year old athletes, precision in your training, creates success.

It's hard for me to even speak that title out load, let alone write it. Yes, I am a 65 year old athlete, hard to admit. Sometimes saying it makes it more real, wake up it's reality. We are in a different world then when I was growing up. 65 year old men sat on the couch, watched TV,  drank beer, (martinis) and played bridge.

Now 65 year olds are training for sports, staying fit and flexible.

In the active part of my life, every season brings on a monumental change in physical conditioning required to change sports. Much has to do with the sport you choose and the conditioning needs of that sport.

Changing from skiing to road cycling for the summer isn't too bad or that difficult a transition.

A change over however from skiing to rock climbing is long and painful; and the same goes for the reversal back to skiing in the fall.

It always starts out as a daunting process, but when you get into it and get on the rock, motivation for climbing at higher levels and or for the same levels you finished the previous season with, comes on strong. 

The annual quest for the same upper body power, grip strength and endurance I remember having, has already begun. Out on the rock I know the first attempts will be dismal, we always compare ourselves to the levels of performance we had or want. 

This is challenging not only from a physical stand point, but also mentally. It's not dissimilar from what many athletes confront when recovering from injury or stepping up to a higher level of competition. The mental game, the physical challenges and technique all require higher levels of   development for an athlete to be competitive again.

And pacing yourself in your training is surely one of the most frustrating parts of this process. As we age the body reacts differently and has different needs. Rest and sleep are high on the list, without them hard workouts wear you down,  rather than build you up. The formula for precisely moving and varying the type of training and workouts you do has to be much more strategic than when you were 25 or even 45 years old.

You can no longer pound out 7 days of weight training and aerobic training in one week, you have to mix up your rest, intensity and type of activity. The goal is to keep improving without a major set back, like overtraining, getting sick or causing an injury. Fatigue or overtraining is likely in the first few weeks of the transition because you are motivated and in a hurry.

This is where a training journal and a written plan can be huge in developing success. Also keep your training log from year to year and consult with it, keep track of your previous year's success and failures. You can learn so much from your own experience, and that's the best way to refine your program from year to year.

I know where I was last October preparing for skiing and I know where I was last June, getting ready for my climbing season. I'll tweak my workouts to increase the fun and enjoyment of the training activity and also the effectiveness of it. Time is of the essence, the climbing season is short and I know I have to be ready for a long ski season again by October. Precision is my overall goal, training smart, means planning. Planning perfectly, may take a year or two to establish, but it's worth the effort,  it's scientific and personally satisfying.