The journey towards the 2013 Westport Sea2Summit adventure race is almost at an end. In less than a week, 1,500 people will line up to compete in this years’ event. They will compete for many reasons – to win, to improve a time or simply, to finish.
I recently read David Walsh’s excellent book, ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, detailing the pursuit of and ultimate fall of Lance Armstrong. Walsh’s odyssey in search of the truth about Armstrong’s doping is fascinating and admirable. The author apart, the real winners in the story are those who had much to lose, yet still believed that the truth, as well as the overall sport of cycling, was of paramount importance. It lead me reflect on the true meaning of competing and, especially, of winning.
Whatever your goal for Sea2Summit, it is, of course, personal to you. It has given meaning and direction to the training you have done over the past few months. Yet, your stated goal alludes to a meaning far greater, something that lies at the heart of what it means to be a winner.
Let’s say, for example, that you are competing to finish the event. This is your goal. The journey to achieving this will involve a roller-coaster ride of emotion, challenge and triumph. You will struggle with your motivation, at times not training because you simply can’t be bothered. You will struggle with the emotional fall-out of giving up. You will also experience triumph and joy – running that little bit further than last time, noticing the changes in your body and mind or the triumph of finishing your first combined run-cycle session. Like most people, you will be pitched and tossed on the waves of these emotions. You will also experience physical ups and downs, from picking up injuries to feeling the strength surge through your body.
This is the journey to winning, the cost, if you will of achievement. Winning means taking yourself on and, despite the many challenges and slip-ups, going on and not letting yourself off the hook. The journey you have taken towards November 9th has already marked you as a winner. Your life is a series of wins and ‘settle-fors’. The opposite of winning is not losing, it is merely not trying. It is giving in to your reasons and settling-for less. Every life has these; they are part of being human. What David Walsh’s book taught me is that sometimes our wins can look like losses. We must learn to recognise and celebrate them.
A great example of this was shown by a friend of mine who was recently injured whilst training for the Sea2Summit. Her injuries mean she will miss the event. Which is a real shame as her enthusiasm and passion for her training was infectious. Recuperating from her injuries, her enthusiasm and passion remain. Yes, there is disappointment, but she hasn’t allowed that to rule the roost. She would rather keep taking herself on. That’s winning…..that’s inspiring!
Keep this in mind when you stand at the start line. You have already won. You have taken on your apathy, your excuses and your reasons over the past months and you have kept going. All that’s left is to enjoy the remainder of the ride!
Sea2Summit – Final Week Preparation
The key to this final week is to strike the right balance between training, recovery and rest, priming yourself physically and mentally for the big day.
— Keep training sessions short and of high intensity. Cut back on volume by 50-60%. For example, if in the previous week you were doing an 8-km run with a 40-min cycle, this week complete a 3-4km run and 15-20min cycle while maintaining a high-intensity effort.
— Recover adequately – use an ice-bath after training, or have a sports massage, swim and sauna after training. This will help remove residual lactic acid in your muscles.
— Streeettcchhhh – complete a 10-min daily stretching routine after some light exercise to keep your muscles supple and joints primed.
— Chill out – add an extra days complete rest to your program this week.
— Stock up – eat adequate amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fats in the days before the event. As your training volume has decreased, be cautious of not piling in too much food as you will take that extra pound or two to the start line.
— Flush it out – hydrate will in the 24-hours before the event. 2-3 litres of water during the day are adequate.
— Tune out – mentally refresh yourself this week, taking your mind of training and doing something relaxing.