Originally, this article was supposed to be a "Workout of the Week" article where I tell you all about some great workout I do, that you should do too because it is sure to make you super fast. While I do have a list of workouts I could tell you all about, I am going to save that for some other day. Let's talk more generally about things, not so much what to do for the workout, but how to have a make it a good workout.
Think of the last time you had an awesome ski/race/bike/run/paddle/whatever it is that you do. One of those days where things just click, the legs are feeling snappy and you're just pumped to be out there. What made this workout so excellent?
For me, there is a list of things that play a big role in making a workout excellent. Mostly Basic things such as getting a good night's sleep beforehand, eating a good meal a couple hours in advance, doing a good pre-workout stretch, having all my equipment in working order, ready to go and generally just not being in a rush to get all these things done. Sound familiar? My guess is yes, but that doesn't mean that these stars align every day, or that they have to in order for it to be a quality session. In fact, I have been noticing lately that there is a certain "Random Factor" that seems to play just as big a role. (key word: can)
The "Random Factor" is best understood when seen in action. You may just find you have even experienced it, but didn't recognize it for what it was...
"Random Factor" Example 1: A week or two ago, I was skiing along the canal mid-day, feeling alright but just kind of going through the motions if you know what I mean. About 15 minutes into the ski I hear a honk and look up to see Andrew driving by, smiling and waving. Naturally, I smile and wave back. It seems simple but for one reason or another I was suddenly in a ridiculously good mood and the next hour and fifteen minutes could definitely be classified as being a great workout.
"Random Factor" Example 2: Last week was kind of wild for me. Between studying for/writing calculus and microeconomics midterms and doing a macroeconomics assignment I was frantically trying to find a place to live and not sleeping because I was too stressed. Wednesday evening rolls around and there is this calculus exam at 8pm, I have spent the day searching Ottawa for somewhere to live and I'm just getting started on how the heck one goes about doing implicit differentiation. I have it kind of figured out, but I'm feeling scattered after not much sleep and too much coffee. Then my cell sings (Akon, of course) notifying me that I have a new text message which reads "Yo, good luck on the exam. Show those numbers who's boss!!". I have a good laugh and am surprisingly calmed down. I get to the exam with a clear head and able to do my best at "showing those numbers who's boss". (I do realize that this is not a ski specific example, but the point is still there!)
"Random Factor" Example 3: After a few more days of apartment hunting/test writing I am pooched but determined to get my butt out to the park for Sunday's 10k skate rollerski race. Sunday morning, my alarm goes off less than six hours after I have finally fallen alseep. Normally, this would suck but it just so happens that I had been dreaming that I was playing European Handball with my Hardwood homies, and my team had scored on Jack's team just before the alarm, so I woke up laughing and happy. How could it not be a good day? (for those of you who don't know Jack well, when it comes to things like soccer or handball, he is the biggest trash-talker ever!) I practically danced to the Gatineau Park and although it was the toughest race I have done in a long, long while, it was wicked.
Do I embrace the "Random Factor" to the point of being childishly easy to please? Maybe yes, but if I didn't (and didn't have couple of really good friends here) I'm pretty sure I would have packed up and gone back to Mississauga last week, so maybe that's alright.
Alana in the weekends rollerski races.