No One Says You Have To…

Usually, no one says anything at all. They’re too preoccupied with their own lives to care too much about whether you are training or not. But someday, there may come a moment in time when everything slows down and you are in a situation. Not just any situation, but a big situation requiring that you be strong, fast, durable, fit, tough, coordinated, accurate, agile, and 100% committed.

So, just…

Strap on your helmet and your cycle shoes;

Slide into your road running shoes;

Tie-on your trail runners;

Pack your swim gear;

Wrap your hands;

Lay down your training mat;

Decide on the park with all the bars and props;

Remember that sprinting track;

Go to the mountain trail;

Hit the gym;

Arrive at the ropes course;

Turn the key, lock-up and go. Go out there, or in there, and find a new training experience this day.

Forget all the other times, forget you, forget them, forget it, forget whatever, and move-in-training with no catches, divisions, or hesitation, just the best form and flow of movement you can find.

It need not be perfect movement, but get moving, and work on improving each time you train until your weak is strong; slow is quick; quick is lightening fast; sluggish is sharp; hesitant is rhythmic; off-is-on; and you find within yourself ever-better performance each new evolution you train through.

Be patient and non-judgmental toward yourself. Simply let your analytic self see the objective, see the difference between what was done and the objective, and let your whole self get behind a new effort ever closer to, or right on the objective, getting better, closer, and ever more proficient.

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Each new flight is yours to navigate.

If you can do this once in training sessions during one day, you can do it every other training day the rest of your life, improving in some way, small, medium, or big. I’ll take any improvement I can get on any given day, and let the rest go until tomorrow.

spirit

spirit: a breakthrough word inspired by a post at Triathlon Obsession encouraging selection of a word to focus on for the New Year...

spirit: a breakthrough word inspired by a post at Triathlon Obsession encouraging selection of a word to focus on for the New Year…

spirit

The depthless, fathomless, soaringly timeless, state of being arising when a person digs deep enough to leave body and mind behind and achieve what those two weaker vessels could not on their own.

An example, the night raid at Riva Ridge by the 10th Mountain Division in 1945, and digging deeper the next day against stiff resistance to take Mt. Belvedere:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14594652

This is relative to mental and physical conditioning, for the person with lesser conditioning, if their body then mind gives way earlier than those more advanced in body and mind training, the spirit kicks in sooner. And for the advanced athlete, warrior, whatever…later, perhaps.

Will we ever come to the point where we run, perform, act, compete, work, and achieve from this state of being from the beginning of the effort, mind and body moved efficiently from this zone in our being? That would be a breakthrough. What endurance, strength, and other qualities would be possible then? Where are the limits? I guess we really don’t know yet, and that is an exciting frontier that those of us in a boundary set world can escape to every day.

This Day, This Moment, The Right Thing Will be Done

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

Cycles surround us. Yet sometimes chaos forces us into fast waters, whipping us about like a leaf in a flash flood…

As when a close family member is hit by a car in a parking lot while walking into the grocery store. In a moment of chaos, of disordered mental and physical operations, a driver strikes down the man who raised you. And that man makes it, but his many decades mean he faces a big recovery challenge from that broken hip. And as his adult son or daughter, all of your plans change. Your duties call, honor calls, love grounds you. You turn to the task of caregiving, arranging, and spending some mind-body numbing hours on hard surfaces attending, watching, listening, and learning what is needed to prepare, transfer, and make in-home care a reality so this VIP of yours can get some sleep, recover faster, and be among loved ones. Here the stress adaptivity of your training is tested.

So it is with all of us. Our training lives morph into something completely different during this time. They move from a training life to a doing-life, as the physical things we do in caregiving become the top priority. This is not likely what we trained for in previous days, however, with a well-rounded training approach in more orderly times, the fringe benefits feed these unexpected efforts we face.

We work in sustaining intervals of what-exercise-we-can-get to sustain our ongoing effort: as when a simple swiss ball can help us redistribute life-giving blood, energy, electric signals, and physical force through out muscles, connections, and body in a small fitness room on the road to retrain ourselves from the sitting, leaning, and waiting of institutional buildings and unnatural light.

These can be the times that training comes to the front and stands by us when the chips are down. There is going to be a price for taking on duty. There usually is. That is the way the world works. Yet by decisively embracing it we may seize the purpose of our training lives on a different level of motivation and performance, where one real event and experience is not a training drill, but itself an opportunity to set new precedents and become open to new dimensions in our future goals.

Updated and Revised but Not Perfected: Is Perfection Really the Enemy of the Good? Why Yes, Yes it is.

Snowflakes prove there is no perfect snowflake...

Is there a perfect snowflake?

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Or flower?

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IMG_1004Or is there a perfect child, or grandparent, or wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend?

There are so many good, for the good makes room for a small, small world of countless differences.

Perfection, philosophers assure us, is the enemy of the good. Yet it is good to excel. What do we excel toward? Perfection. Then how is perfection the enemy of the good again?

Because while we excel toward perfection, perfection is not the goal. Perfection is a divine gift, an ideal that British radar pioneer Robert Watson-Watt said, “never comes.” I believe he should have said, “..in this life,” but that’s quibbling with his context. Also, there is an exception to every rule, and perhaps an exception to that rule too.

Perfection evades our grasp as entropy dogs us, the unexpected delays us, or survival challenges tax us. Yes, attachment to this world seems to anchor us down, unable to fly up to havens of perfection.

All the dreams of perfection we want, such as immortality, eternal love, and inalienable acceptance are retirement benefits that vest only after our own personal work as the farmers of our souls and as helpers of our fellow farmers, is done. And the work is only done when we die, true? At the end of this life, everything takes extra work. Just ask those living into the golden years. Earthly retirement is not real retirement, for the work goes on!

Living and dying while struggling to excel in goodness-for-goodness-sake is the work of our lives that we can and must excel at. Genuineness in this quest can’t be faked, and comes with letting go of desiring and grasping, yet receiving all blessings thankfully with hands that multiply and distribute them to others. Some call this renunciation of self, yet it is more. It is giving of self, enlarging one’s heart by letting go, and expanding in spiritual freedom and vitality by giving.

Death is retirement from this noble work in this life. Afterward, retirement benefits kick in, that is, the Divine Gift (some believe by other agencies) of immortality goes to those who farmed within their hearts the seeds of goodness. There is more wisdom in our entropic bodies than meets the eye, as they fertilize with humility the spiritual seeds for resurrection and eternal life awaiting the Sunrise. Eventually, the Harvester of growing crops comes and transplants them where all are nourished without eating, and there is no entropy or waste. People of love rise again and the Spirit says, “It’s all good.”

So let go of grasping for receiving, and grasp your partner to dance, or grab a hand and pull someone up who is down, or grab a rock and pull yourself up for a better view by which to navigate for a greater purpose and destination than temporary self satisfaction. We handle the good to give, not to keep, but to share and distribute once it has taught us what we are to learn on the day. We excel each time we do this. We plant new seeds and make our fields more fertile with humility each time we do this.

And how will we know when we are prepared enough? When we’re done. When our spirits have left our broken bodies. How does that all work? I believe we’ll find out. Until then, let’s help and inspire each other. Let’s imbue each other with value, making value, multiplying value, and giving the value of love and all of its goods to one another, and do so for our entire lives.

Thanksgiving

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There is giving thanks and there is thankfulness as a path to giving.

Thanks follows receiving, and receiving teaches giving.

Giving and receiving, receiving and giving, creates a life flow of relationship to others.

Flow of life washes away impossibility thinking, connecting possibilities to and among our moving selves.

That is a snapshot of the training life, a life flow discipline helping us anchor our energy for giving and receiving, recovering and thanking, loving and working for others’ well being.

When a wall daunts us, adapting, we find a way. Believe there is a way and go, and a way will emerge in the wilderness.

Holiday breaks bring windfalls of time to establish new disciplines to develop and nurture in smaller increments in busier working times. Use the windfalls, and feast on new disciplines for your wellness and new capabilities.

 

M7 Missive: Envy is not a regenerative green for athleticism

Credit: Matrix Wiki website.

We all know envy, a vice, has become a lucrative marketing emotion, including within the fitness industry. Certainly this is not so in all venues, under all coaches, or with all players. Yet where it is, it corrodes.

Envy is tied to what another has, or is perceived to have, and is moved by their possession of it. Usually, the outcome of someone’s hard work is coveted, not the work itself. In this emotion the seeds of hating the actual sport, art, work, or conditioning mode are planted.

When the training life becomes a mere means to a visual end, the end of it is planted in its beginning — there is an expiration date on that inspiration.

Also, to envy someone else’s fitness is to tie ourselves to someone else’s performance, not lead ourselves by our own performance to ever excelling levels of capability and potential. Envy makes something old from the beginning, and so limits excellence.

To praise the beauty or performance of another and desire a like-experience to theirs is different. This is not tied to the person, but to the person’s example, the process, the sport, the training path, and focuses on their work ethic and character. It lauds them in a dignified way without attaching to them in a co-dependent twist. This is not envy exactly, but it is admiration of the character of another to the point of applying its principle to ourselves. It is recognition of something greater than both on which all may climb. It is participatory, and therefore, team building, community building, social, and fun.

Worse than envy is a kind of pride that begins with envy then morphs into the denigration of what another has with the implication that our experience must be better, will be better, and is already better than the other. Again, this is not about being the best we can become, but about bettering another. Here the sky is exchanged for exultation over someone else’s fall to earth. Such a morbid thought process misses the finest traditions of sports.

Where envy has infected sports, fitness, and physical arts, we can all do better if we extinguish it with grace. We must do better as a nation of competitors and lovers of sports.

Short on Time Blocs: 2-Run or not 2-Run? Do a Double Day

You awaken with enough time one morning to run a short run but want to run longer. Your calendar balks.

Should you run 2-runs today? One early, and one later to experience that longer endurance experience, and add some mileage to your body’s training base?

If you are cleared to run for fitness and sport, why not, so long as you are not over-training in the larger context of your training days.

This piece at Runner’s World goes into some detail about the benefits of “doubling.” And Jeff Galloway chimes in here.

And this is not only true for running. Other training modes may be mixed, matched, and doubled. Again, don’t over-train, but do adapt and excel. The experience boosts training and performance confidence, in part because few people make room to train twice in a day, or few seize the intervals as discussed in the ‘Interval Farming’ chapter in Farm Your Training Day.

Write in, comment, or, write a guest piece for my blog about how you leverage a “daily double” into your training life from time to time. Thanks for dropping in!

 

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Early

and

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Later on…

Ethics Excellence in Athleticism

What's not to love about this?

Honor system on the trail.

Some athlete out there found this key, wrote up a note, and stuck it on the fence. It’s been there a while. Which means many a mountain biker, runner, or walker has left it in peace. This gleaming key of honor shows what is possible in human relations, and when children are with us, they see these examples. If a person can be trusted to trouble themselves with a small thing like this key, perhaps the next test will be easier to pass.

What freedom there is for any one whose value is vested in what they give, give back, gratefully receive, and share.

The Replacement

When I kick a habit I kick it now;

Unless I replace it with decision,

The kicking is for show.

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Simple Personal Executive Power

There is more than meets the eye here.

Consider all of the decisions, words, or actions we may have used this beautiful button on had it popped-up in real time.

From a self-training perspective, this button could cut-off decisions to eat, drink, think, do, or say things that would waste our health, damage our bodies, or steal time from more important priorities, be it relationship, work, physical training, or others. In a limited life span here on Earth, such a button pushed at the right times could save exponential time. That saved time could then find spot-on opportunities for excellence.

This is not just because of better opportunities found, but because we avoid entanglements that would steal yet more time from the most important things.

The cancel button in the picture is blue, a color that suggests that it is perfectly OK to cancel something. To make it red creates negative emotional associations.

Perhaps the “Send” button should be red, as impulsively or accidentally sent messages burn more bridges than cancelling messages does.

The Coach’s Words Ring In A Non-Basketballer’s Ears

Coach John Wooden is well known for coaching his basketball players not to judge their performance on wins, but on whether they played to their full capability.

As I edit The Independent Athlete, I ask: Is this writing the best I can give? Would E.B. White pass this? Or Professor Strunk? The evaluation is worth prolonging the project. I want this book to connect with readers, not distract them.

By setting the deadlines at 2012’s end, I forced myself to get the content down. My habit had been to tinker with editing tasks before getting all of the content down. This time, using deadlines, I changed the way I write.

It's just over the next hill...

Whaddya mean it’s just over the next hill?

I hope readers will benefit from the attention to details.

the inner game and self-allowance

giving the self-critic the job of helping, not hindering our working, functioning self

New possibilities arise when our egoistic self-critic is retrained to help our working self.

you can
you always could

The classics The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game of Golfboth by Timothy Gallwey, address one of the most tender topics for every one of us. The part of our egos that self-protect when we are overcoming a weakness or attempting something that is challenging for us. Gallwey does a great job describing how this ego-self emerged in his tennis students to stymie their progress and pressure them to quit.

These books are on my shelf as long term references. I’ve read what applies to all sports and did not detail the tennis or golf aspects. I’m not a tennis player or golfer, but I’ve played both, enough to understand the phenomenon specified in the book. My key goal, however, was to see how the book applies to other sports, arts and work tasks. You can apply the lessons learned there to any task in sport, art and work, or any sub-task. Perhaps the lessons apply even to our communications with others, or our personality print on any given situation.

Think of the things you quit that you would still like to learn, become proficient in, or even master. Think of the the next thing you need to get better at. Think of new possibilities for you if you were able to tame your inner mind during the learning process. This is about precision, efficiency, economy and becoming a smarter performer so that your work goes much further on your behalf. The upshot of all of this includes having more fun at what you’re doing even in the challenging areas for you.

I’m not going to take credit for these insights, but I’ll refer you to the source. The books are at major book sellers online and likely in some used bookstores. You won’t find mine there, though.

It is my purpose to make the M7 Adaptive Fitness Guidebook one of those reference books that you want to keep on your virtual bookshelf. If you’ve read the books or if you read them in the future, feel free to comment on your experiences implementing the principles.

Cheers!