Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Activation Energy.

Some days I wake up and all I want to do is spend 6 hours riding outside in the sun, and other days it's a struggle to do an easy 3,000 yards at the pool. I think this is the case for most serious athletes, and despite having what I consider a dream job at the moment, it's not always a cakewalk. With the recent block of training for Ironman Lake Placid, I've entered that state where even simple recovery runs can seem a bit daunting. I certainly don't believe that I'm overtrained, but instead properly tired from a very solid amount of training. That said, it's a fine line, and definitely requires constant monitoring.

On these occasions, when getting the hay in the barn while the sun is shining is essential, I think of my old science friend, activation energy. How many times have you woken up feeling a bit sore from that long run, or just plain tired from a big week? You know that it's just a couple more weeks until you really get to rest, but you still have to keep the ball rolling during that time... Enter: activation energy. It's a simple concept really, and when it comes to training, I think of it as the minimum amount of energy needed to initiate a workout. You could even say that the "chemical reaction" is the endorphin rush that will inevitably occur if you just get out the door. And honestly, taking a nasty tumble or getting hit by a car aside, when have you ever regretted a run, bike, or swim? I always end up feeling better, so it's all about overcoming that initial hump and making it happen. Activation energy can come in many forms, including music, watching the Tour de France, thinking of the physically challenged athletes, or just focusing on the goals you might have for race day. Use that spark to get you out the door and on your way...

As I wind down these next 20 days or so, I know that the hard work will be done, and I will arrive at the start line ready to race my best. All it takes is a little activation energy. What is your inspiration?