Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time off to recharge and reload

The off season is now well and truly a distant memory and it's back to training track for the build up to the national champs in January. With the nationals coming early in the year for us Aussies it means if you want to put in a decent performance you need work fairly solidly in november and December to be ready. My off season lasts 4 weeks but this year I was not really ready for one as I had already had a forced break as a result of that pesky rib fracture. None the less I took the opportunity to remove the structure from regular training for the period and just enjoyed being active where and when I wanted to be and in turn freshen up the mind and body.

During this little break it's a great time for me to spend as much time as possible with my beautiful girlfriend Jess, plenty of rounds of golf, some time helping out at my old school Hutchins with there rowing and cycling programs and plenty of coffee catchups with my pals about town. Jess recently brought a new home so its been great to have some time to help her digging up dirt and planting trees in the garden as well as some odd jobs about the place, all activities designed to bring couples closer together through renovating!!!!! Golf is a huge passion of mine and I really enjoy getting down to the royal Hobart golf club as much as possible to sharpen up my rusty swing after the season on the bike and also catch up with all the great members I have the honor of playing with on Wednesday's and Saturday's in the members comp. It is nice to use the mental energy I usually use thinking about cycling and channeling it into improving my game, being nice and relaxed and comfortable with the fact that I don't need to be any good at golf has meant that as I have improved in my cycling I have made equal improvments to my golf and getting my handicap down to single figures, all be it just at 9, which I put down to the improvements I feel I have made learning how to learn. This year I certainly learnt more than ever on the bike and I certainly find that my analysis of what I do on the golf course to improve my game has benefited so I have enjoyed that.

Next stop for on my break time is back to the hutchins school to help out where I can. The school has the number 1 u19 rowing program based on last years national championships and I love helping out and being involved there. Also they have recently added a cycling program aswell s the tasmanian institute of sport u17 development program based there so it is really a thriving sporting hub for school boys. For the record the school is also #1 in the state for academics so the priorities are certainly in the right spot and I certainly make it very clear to the kids that there education is the most important thing and then sport, I must be getting old!! Its really great and in many ways inspiring watching the kids push themselves and show such a passion to learn. It helps me to look harder at what I am doing swell as it is always easier to demonstrate things than putting it into words so the content new challenge of teaching is something I really enjoy. Seeing the kids improve and get excited about there achievements is really gratifying and likewise the challenges that crop up with the pressures of coaching. All in all it's a great activity for the off season as it is not only physically draining and tiring, the return to 5am mornings to help out at the rowing sheds is not something I miss, but the added mental fatigue by constantly thinking of ways to help up to 10 kids at once really give me a massive appreciation for what great job our teachers must do being able to deal with this day in day out year after year. Along with the coaching I was honored to be the guest of honor at there annual awards assembly where I handed out the numerous awards and did the closing speech. Doing a speech in front of so many does not seem like such a daunting task as from time to time interviews are just part and parcel of life as a sportsman, the only but major difference is you are simply answering questions during interviews so half the work is done for you whereas when you write a speech you have to do all the work yourself. So after about 300 pages of ultimately useless notes in preparation I had finally narrowed it down to one page of dot points and it seemed to go all ok. Most importantly I got some laughs which I think is always a nice feeling when delivering a speech, you know at least for that moment the audience is actually listening. All good practice none the less.

So now it's back to work and into the daily training regime. The first couple of weeks are always a bit painful as the body has forgotten what exercise is to a large extent but this is exactly what you want to feel. It means that you can also trick you body into thinking you are back in great shape within a few weeks cause you feel so much better than when you got started again, unfortunately the power meter is always a little reality check of where you are at really. I certainly feel the best I have ever felt following a season of racing and feel like I am starting from a good base, each year I seem to start out a little bit ahead of where I was at the same time 12 months before, a combination I guess of exposure to the higher level of racing and also the body learning to recover and also rebuild following the seasons racing. So with that in mind it's full gas in preparations with my first major race of the season at the national championships in early January.


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