I Am My Own Biggest Experiment.

I am proud to say that I am writing this while on the road with the Canadian National Cross Country Ski Team.  I say this with great prides and a sense of accomplishment.  When I moved from Winnipeg to Calgary, it was with the intent to work with a Canadian National team.  Well, here I am.  Now I will admit that I am the assistant strength coach and my role is minor, I am extremely proud of accomplishing a long awaited goal.

But today I have been busy programming, not for any one I train, but for myself.  As some of you may or may not know, I have entered the Calgary Subaru Half Marathon on May 29th, 2010.  Not I am going to be totally honest, I HATE RUNNING.  I was once heard saying, “Why run, why train your heart?  You cannot see it.”  I used to live by the motto “why run when you could walk, why walk when you could crawl, and why crawl when you could just lie there!”  But I believe that we need to work on what we are most weak at.  And cardio is my weakness.

Now the truth is I was bored.  I needed to train for something, but I work in a gym that trains power lifters and Olympic lifters.  But really, that is not something I want to compete in.  Crossfit?  Not really for me at this time in my training.  Last time I followed Crossfit, I buggered my elbow to the point I am just starting to flex it pain free.  I know life is an anaerobic event.  Everything we did as cavemen was anaerobic in nature… running from a Sabre-toothed tiger, throwing a spear etc.  But there is massive need for aerobic fitness.  From a perspective of training we need to have adequate fitness in both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.  The following diagram was one that I used in my Masters defence.

This above diagram is based on a hydraulic model demonstrating that the ability of the aerobic system plays a major role in the ability of the anaerobic system.   When someone does an anaerobic event or act, the capacity of the anaerobic system decreases.  If this was animated the water in the “Ana Capacity” would go down.  In that case the water from the “Aerobic Capacity” would thus travel through the tube and replenish the “Ana Capacity”.  So it is the responsibility of the aerobic system to replenishing the energy of the anaerobic reservoir.  Now, I cannot say that all my workouts are anaerobic in nature, but I prefer them over the long slow distance.  I like strength training, deadlifting and attempting to squat heavy.  I will admit that I have in the last few years let my Aerobic fitness decline to levels I am frankly embarrassed about.

Now on the strength side, there is studies that state that strength declines after the age of 25.  I would argue this as I have become much stronger in the past two years than I was when I was 25. I would attribute that to much smarter training and a more systematic approach to periodization.  This is when the thought of the “the experiment” began.   I know the last time I ran, I was down to about 145 lbs.  I was terribly skinny.  And everyone thinks that is what a runner is supposed to look like.  But being here in Park City, I look at the team of athletes.  They are some of the most aerobically fit individuals I have met in my entire life.  What they do for a warm up would crush most people… and they are doing this at altitude.  So the question I am going to answer in this next period of my training is what will happen if I take a rather unique approach to training, incorporating the aspects of training for the big deadlift, bench and squat, while addressing the little issues I have in terms of functional asymmetries all the while aiming to complete this half marathon in a respectable time.   Really, at the age of 32, can I be fitter and stronger (and look better naked) than I ever have.  This next year should be rather interesting.

Stay tuned as testing begins on the 14th of October.

Yours in Health and Performance.

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