Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Achieving Destiny

Get completely clear about your objective. If all you have is a vague idea, then work on fleshing it out so it becomes detailed and specific.

Act now. Opportunities do not wait for conditions to be perfect.
Persist in your efforts. Make all of your work count for something by seeing it through to the finish.

Be thankful for the challenges and enjoy working through them. For they are where the real value is created.

Connect your goal to a meaningful purpose. When you're clear about why, you'll surely be able to take care of how.

Every frustration, every dissatisfaction you feel is really an urge to achieve. Follow those urges all the way through, and make the positive difference that is your destiny.

Ralph Marston

Sunday, June 28, 2009

5 weeks out (for the first time and the last time.)

I really decided to push the bike thing this week (at least this weekend.) My training is coming along & I feel good. However, I'm starting to get questions like "are you beginning to rest/taper yet?" The answer is NO; as I explained to one of my questioners "I am still building my fitness, rest comes after fitness and I'm not there (fit for IRONMAN) yet."

It better come quick, though! I'm running out of time...

Last weeks training:
Monday: REST
Tuesday: Bike 2.5 hrs
Wednesday: Swim 45 minutes & strength train
Thursday: Run 1 hr
Friday: Swim 1 hr & 10 minutes..
Saturday: Bike 106 miles...Long day, 2 Powerbars, 2 Gels, 3 Water Bottles (not enough) and I couldn't wait for it to end...
Sunday: After some food & wine (and a great night's sleep); I awoke and ran 2 hrs..felt surprisingly good.

I need to get my bike tuned up. Something is sluggish (can't be me!) and there is no reason to make me work harder than I absolutely must. Next week I'll dial back the weekend and focus on my mid week training.

Happy Birthday today to my friend (and IRONMAN inspiration) Rachel. She celebrated her day with a 106 mile ride of her own. You go girl!

PS: I may very well NEVER do this again, but never say never?

Frank Pucher

Friday, June 26, 2009

Training Complexity

There seems to be a trend in triathlon of trying to make things more complex than they really are. We've all seen it and we all seem to be a part of it. All you need to do is run a search here on the Web or pick up a multisport magazine and you can work your way into a serious confusion-based tizzy.

I myself have a short list of blogs I like to track every few days but in recent times more and more of them seem to be filled with detailed scientific graphs and indirect advertisements pushing comprehensive training/tracking software programs. There are lengthy, complex write-ups filled with obscure terminology on how I should train. Phrases like "satellite cells" and "sensory acuity" and "central governor" (more commonly known as "brain", an apparatus more and more coaches and athletes seem to be overtraining) are applied far too frequently. Worse yet, at least to me, are the proliferation of abbreviations, as though you're supposed to know what they stand for long before you've ever read them…TSS, LDH, AeT, IF, ATP, COD from UPS, IOU, DUI, RSVP, etc (etcetera). But to me it's NBD I just view it as BS!

My guess is most the authors who pen this sort of **** probably don't fully comprehend what they're saying but come to the conclusion that the phrases sound pretty damn cool and thereby makes them look equally as hip. After all, employing the use of complicated language is a pretty damn good way to make it seem like you know what you are talking about. To me, however, it sounds quite condescending, as though the author of such garbage is almost trying to talk above the rest of us. After all, if others can't possibly identify with what you are lecturing on about, then they're not about to question your authority! The assumption is made that you must know what the hell you're talking about, which of course, isn't always the case.

I have thus (is that really a word?) decided to SIMPLIFY my training philosophy. This should save you thankless hours performing research and hundreds of dollars in magazine subscriptions.

Here's how Simple (my training) philosophy is:
1) Enjoy my training
2) Make sure my training has me improving
3) Make sure that improvement is specific to the event I'm training for
4) Believe in the training (this, of course, is entirely dependent on the above)

My HS coach from way-way back said to me.."There are many training plans (to train to win), the one that works best is always - the one you use."

Thanks Coach! I still believe it.

Frank Pucher

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mental Training Time

"The best athletes have multiple mental skills in their toolboxes. They are constantly improving on those tools while adding new ones. They view themselves as top problem solvers and love the process of overcoming potential performance obstacles by just thinking them through.
If you welcome the challenge of overcoming obstacles, you have an edge on
athletes who fear problems.
Everyone is doing the physical training to complete an Ironman, not everyone does the mental training. It's a long race to be alone with yourself. Train your brain to tackle problems head on and focus on moving forward to your goal."

Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men's and women's teams.

Monday, June 22, 2009

6 Weeks Out

I started the week with every intention of training "long & strong" each and every day. As I'm discovering on this journey; things seldom go according to plan.

My family lost a dear friend this week. "Freddy" was a GREAT family man and a beloved Father, Brother, Friend & Husband...He will be missed and never forgotten. Thank You Fred, for always treating me like a member of your family. (It just goes to show; you can't choose your relatives, but you can choose your family.)

Busy week again and the clock is ticking:

Monday: 45 minute swim
Tuesday: 2.5 hrs biking (indoors)
Wednesday: Funeral/ Needed Day off
Thursday: 2.5 hrs biking (indoors)
Friday: 1 hr swim
Saturday: 80 miles of cycling in the rain (I felt like a cyclist!) Something very ZEN about being on the bike for 6hrs!
Sunday: 14 mile run

Felt very tired this weekend (I wonder why?) My whole chemistry was off too. I typically consume 1 can of soda every 3 years.
On Sunday, I drank 3 cans of Coke and ate a Jelly Donut!! (they both tasted pretty damn good too I must admit.)

IRONMAN training is really kicking now..I plan 2 more Long & Strong weeks and then it's time to start resting up.

Work is good, looking to hire a new disciple in the coming weeks.

Rachel had a Kick *ss 1/2 Ironman last weekend & a Birthday next weekend..I'm very proud that she got back up after a little knockdown.

I'm suffering from a lack of sleep last night so this is it....I'll have much more to say next update..till then, train smart-rest much!

Frank Pucher

Sunday, June 14, 2009

7 Weeks Out (don't try this at home.)

Another week. Actually, my 1st week back from vacation (which was great.)
Time to start training like a Tri-Athlete; so away we went.

Monday: 45 minute swim & 1 hr run.
Tuesday: 2.5 hrs bike & strength train.
Wednesday: 45 minute swim & 40 minute run.
Thursday: 2 hr bike & strength train.
Friday: 1 hr swim.
Saturday: 70 miles of cycling, Madison to Far Hills and all places surrounding!
Sunday: 15 miles of running (2hrs) with a 10k (drop in) in between; my brother Gary made his 10k debut and 1st running event in almost 8 years. He took 3rd place in his category!! Afterwards, I ran back to my parents home.

I feel pretty good after this week; just a little sleep deprived as I set an alarm each day this week.

I will scale back slightly next week and see how my body is feeling.

Other news: Work is going very well. We are in the market for a new TEAM member so we will be hitting the classifieds shortly. Last week a NEW client came into our facility as she wanted to look around before her evaluation; she commented to Gary "this is not what I expected, everything is so beautiful, from the building to the bathrooms & even your exercise area."
Gary replied with a very simple "Thank You."

Over the last year we have worked so hard and made many personal and financial sacrifices to make Fitness 121 a place of "positive energy." We like to think of Fitness 121 as an "Oasis in a sea of anger and frustration." Each of our Team has worked tirelessly to improve our skills and our abilities, we have been recognized by our industry and the majority of our clients have acknowledged their training has benefited from our changes over the last year. To all of our existing clients, Thank You. We will continue to do the best we can; so you may be the best you can.

Frank Pucher

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

8 Weeks Out.

Lot's to talk about so I'll get right to it.
Last week was a light training week as I had a 1/2 IRONMAN on Sunday 5/31.
I was feeling pretty good & calm during the ride to Lehighton, PA (middle of nowhere.)
Several of us were there to compete against the over 400 other competitors.
My immediate concern was covering the 70.3 miles of Swim-Bike-Run. However, my next matter was not encountering any bedbugs at the motel we were staying at. I don't know where or when I heard this (or if I made it up for that matter) but I seem to recall that bedbugs come out at night.
This led me to sleep with the lights on. I woke up at 5:00 on race day feeling good and thinking to myself "those poor little guys must have been wondering all night WTF?"
After a quick ride to a Dunkin Donuts for some coffee I was in the shower, eating my breakfast and off to the race site. 
I set up my transition area pretty easily but was a little concerned about if I could get into my wetsuit (this was my 1st time wearing it.) Luckily I had plenty of time and things were going smoothly. On my was over to the water I met up with my college roommate "Greg." We shared a quick hug and hello and agreed to meet up after the race.
As I was slipping into my wetsuit I began to get a little nervous wondering "Did I drink enough? Did I eat too much? Can I swim this far?" Before I knew it my wetsuit was almost on and I began to realize that IT'S ON BACKWARDS!!
10 minutes to go before the race starts..
With time to spare I get my suit on, regain my composure and head to the water.
BANG. I am swimming as straight as I can but being tossed a little from the others around me. I begin to relax and my form comes together; the 2nd half of the swim goes great and I exit the water feeling good.
Quick transition to my bike (Helmet, Glasses, Powersbars) and I'm on the road. The following 56 miles were a test of hill after hill. Being NOT a strong cyclist this was not the best course from me, but after 3+ hrs on the bike I reached the transition area to begin my run.
The first 8 miles went pretty well; however after 9 miles my stomach began to blow-up like I was about to deliver twins! I guess that's the side effect from drinking gatorade for 5 hrs.
I finally made it across in little over 6 hrs. All things considered I was happy with the way I finished (just not how I felt.) I'll need to figure out a way to combat that before IRONMAN.
Looking back I also need to really up my bike mileage and that will be my focus during the coming weeks. 
I'm away on vacation as I write this now; feeling ok, almost fully recovered and ready to get on with the final push. The biggest challenge will be for me to remain calm despite the lack of training time left; as I always preach "you do the best with what you have." 

I guess I'll have to follow my own advice.

Frank Pucher