Epic Camp Prologue: Foolin'
I'm looking forward to the Tour of New Zealand and I hope that I have the energy (and connectivity) to share frequent updates.
Monica repaired my Terminator sunglasses for Christmas. I'm rocking them in this week's photo.
At camp, I am not going to check email - FYI.
We flew down to Sydney yesterday and I had a chance to brainstorm blog topics. Here's the list of items that I want to share with you:
That's 18 mini-topics. I'd better hit them early in the camp before I get too shelled!
My Final Preps
On Saturday, following the lead of my cycling mentor, Robbie Ventura, I did my best Russell Crowe imitation (from Gladiator) and marshaled the troops for a FIVE hour chase of a couple of elite triathletes that wanted to TT to the base of one of the toughest climbs in Australia. That story had a happy ending at least for me.
Friday - ride to Brisbane (150K, 5 hrs); swim 4800; run 7K
That said, I think Albert Boyce managed to recover well from winning the January 2008 camp. Although, he did claim to be in 'retirement' for most of that year. The Albernator went 1/1/1 in his AG at IM-CDA this year. His 45 km/h late camp pulls will be missed.
Given that "Performance over Health" can be a theme for elite athletics in general... might as well accept the reality of the situation.
My personal strategy for the camp includes ending with my immune system intact! Beyond that, I'm not going to outline as that would spoil the fun for my rivals. I will write my plans down and share them once it is obvious to the epic crew. That will hold me accountable to my own goals.
So some tips as you grapple with the nerves that are natural before a massive training block.
1 - arrive healthy // you can do this by sleeping lots; de-stressing your life; and eating well
2 - maintain frequency // you are going to be training daily for 15 days // keep your body ticking over as you shed fatigue. Given the fitness level of everyone coming (not just the fastest athletes), you will recover quickest while training. Stay active & unload fatigue.
3 - resist the urge to do something stupid // all because you dream up a silly workout in the final 10 days... doesn't mean you need to do it. The cumulative effect of hitting it big for 15 days will place you in a massive hole. You want to start WELL out of the hole.
4 - travel taper // you will be tempted to smash yourself one-last-time before you fly to NZ, or in the final week, that is a poor idea.
5 - I read your blogs/tweets/facebook pages -- some of you are already doing more than you need -- be careful. This isn't Ironman, or even Ultraman. It's way, way beyond.
The best advice that I've received about these tours is to make sure that you have FUN every single day! These trips are unique experiences and being filled with negative feelings is a huge waste.
Petro, Randy and Charlesy are great athletes to seek advice from if you need support/advice on how to play it. They have been through the ups and down of many camps. I also recommend Tara as a source of inspiration.
We've found that so long as you stay under Half IM power/pace then you'll have the best chance to bounce back from your errors. We all make errors -- that's part of the fun. High intensity fatigue, specifically maximal intensity, seems to linger a lot longer.
If you have concerns about your ability to train long for the entire camp then I recommend that you suck-it-up and go out the back. The pace will slow down once people have tired themselves (typically this starts around Day Four). Look for allies at your fitness level. EVERYONE at camp is an excellent athlete and you have ALL day to make the stages. The tour is a lot more reasonable if we work together.
If you make a mistake with your pacing -- don't worry about it! That's one of the key benefits of the camp. You get clear feedback that will help you understand how to pace the big days. This is a BIG benefit to your racing.
We have set the camp up to make it difficult to pace well early -- the events, the group workouts, the vibe... BUT... if you pull it off then you are rewarded if you can be strong in Week Two!
Without a doubt, this is the most extreme thing that we've ever set up. We have had single athletes train at the levels that you'll read about but we have never had a camp were you had to do ~100 hours to get your finisher's prize.
What You Are Up Against
I like Def Leppard, Guns & Roses as well as Rage Against the Machine... bit of an acquired taste.
When I hear the song, it reminds me of the work required to succeed in sport.
At least 50% of the people that consider hiring me mention that they would like to qualify for World Champs.
It would be extremely demotivating for me to point out that 99% of the sport is completely fooling (Fff-foolin') themselves in terms of what it takes.
As well, we NEVER know what the future holds for us. Who am I to define another's potential? The only thing I know for certain is the only way to find out is to do the work required to succeed and past success in work-based fields is a good indicator for ultra-distance events (which are process oriented). The guy that copied your homework in college is unlikely to win an Ironman!
If I had listened to the "experts" when I started (at 30 years old) then I wouldn't have bothered. That would have been a big mistake for me.
Until I met Scott, I was totally fooling myself in terms of what it takes. Took me three years of fanatical dedication to _start_ to figure it out. The first sign of becoming clued in was going sub-9 in New Zealand after the original Epic Camp in January 2003.
So how to figure out what to do?
If you want to self-coach then figure out the highest training load that you are likely to be able to pull off 40 out of 52 weeks a year (hint, look at your weekly actuals from 2009 for a reality check - our appetite always exceeds our life situation).
Focus on your week for a YEAR. You'll be AMAZED at how difficult it is to not screw yourself up! You'll also be blown away by the positive effect you receive from ten months of daily "base" training.
While you are focused on hitting your week you can mull over the ideas that you'll read over the next few weeks. I'm going to share what helped me go from being unable to run 5K to winning Ultraman Hawaii (as well as putting up one of the fastest times ever on the IMC course).
I'd urge you to read the campers blogs (they will be over at the Epic Site once the camp starts). These are _real_ people doing the training. I've been "fit" for so long that some of my readers (and most of my clients) have forgotten how VERY human I was when I started.
I remain very human - however, 30 years of creative writing practice (combined with appropriate lighting) might enable me to be Fff-foolin you some of the time!