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XCOttawa Athlete Diary: Tom McCarthy
By:  Tom McCarthy   (2005/09/29)

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I like that this diary entry follows immediately after my brotherís. I like it for two reasons: one, because our preseasons to this point have been diametrically opposed, but also because my name will then be on top of his on the web page. Similar to the results page.

To this point, this season has been another adjustment. I moved back from Vancouver to Ottawa in mid-June, and started a full-time job with the federal government. Itís a great job, but itís the first time I have had this little time-flex in my training. So despite Johnís great program, and my best efforts to follow his program, my training cycles have been a lot flatter than intended. I do not have the hours in a day to put in the big weeks, and there is usually at least one, often two, days during the week when training is an impossibility. I get to work around 8:00 and rarely leave much before 6:00, so my training is mostly done in the evening, and, increasingly, in the dark. John and I knew this was going to happen, so we reduced my hours accordingly, but I have not been able to do the number of hours in the higher-end weeks.

Because of the time-crunch, Iíve been trying to turn all my hours into quality, and, as with last season in Vancouver, focus on specific aspects of technique/fitness with every session. My z1 hours have been reduced while Iíve maintained my strength, speed and intensity sessions- not a path I recommend to everyone, and not one Iím sure will work. Iíve been working on technique, trying to nail down my never-perfect one-skate and ever-evolving classic stride. Iíve put more of a strength focus on power, and will be in the gym throughout the year this year, I think; other years Iíve stopped going in November.

How do I feel? Very snappy. One little theory we toss around is that fewer z1 hours doesnít tire out the fast-twitch muscles as much, so I feel pretty snappy and powerful in workouts. But Iím not a physiologist and I have no idea if thatís true. I do notice less endurance than in the past- 4 hour runs just arenít my thing anymore. However, a 10k road race in August felt great, and interval sessions are going well. I havenít been sick except for one 24 hour flu in July. I have a nagging plantar fascia issue, but itís nothing that stretching and massage doesnít fix.

Iím not heading out West for the early season races, so I donít have quite the same early-season speed imperative that my bro does. Nor would I say Iím in the best general shape of my life. I have definitely been in better shape. But I think that on-going, never-ending technique work, increased power and a little more speed can make up for a lack of overall fitness, and I know I can turn out some sharp races this season.

The mental thing is something else I need to work on; not around races, but in terms of a general approach to training. There are some practices this summer/fall when Iíve been pretty tired from work and havenít really been giving all my attention to the workout; I need to work on that.

 
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