For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Monday, September 26, 2011


When i originally sat down a couple of years ago to try to figure out what was required for one to be a successful endurance athlete i came up with three things - confidence, a knowledge of suffering, and will. A lot of time was not on the list.  I was reminded of the issue of time last night as i watched the beginning of an infomercial on some '10 minute workout' craze by the makers of P90X. 

Its amazing how well this stuff sells - a package of information that doesn't contain anything new:  Work out really hard.  Be consistent.  you will see results.  This is like a law of nature.  Action and reaction.  Nothing more.  The motivational speaker may change.  Artwork on the box may change.  the pumping beat designed to somehow get you through the pain may change.  But the message doesn't, because it can't.  There's nothing more and nothing less.

But of course there's still an epidemic of obesity, so whats going on?  come on - 10 minutes a day people.  But what they don't tell you in the sales pitch is that for alot of people its 10 minutes too tough.  it's 10 minutes of extreme discomfort.  There are lots of ways people could improve thier lives in 10 minutes a day.  10 minutes of mediation.  10 minutes of gorging on fruits and vegetables (preferably split into 3 minute chunks and put before every meal).  10 minutes of stretching.  10 minutes of listening to your spouse.  10 minutes of journaling.  We're creatures of habit though, and this is the hurdle that is simply too high to overcome for most people who set out to make any change, even a 10 minute one. 

But 10 minutes is certainly better than 60 - people don't even try to add 60 minutes of exercise to their day - that sort of idea doesn't even register as a real possibility in concsiousness - it doesn't stand a chance.  But 10 minutes gets people to try.  And some succeed.  Its like some human form of quantum tunnelling - some small probability of folks can actually change their lives when the energy barrier is really too high, but just by a little bit.

Alright, i'm digressing.  The point of all of this was to mention how important consistency is for success any sort of athletic training program.  and consistency doesn't happen (or doesn't happen consistently (:  ) when there are too many competing needs that can't all be met.  this is why a low volume program has a better chance to get you where you want to be - because maybe, just maybe, you can be consistent with it. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Start of the 2010 Swamp Donkey
This weekend I'm heading up north of the border for a perfect training day.....the Swamp Donkey adventure race.  Its a 6-9 hour event through the pre-cambrian shield landscape in and around Whiteshell provincial park and promises to be quite a race (there are over 100 three person teams signed up!). I'm racing with Tammy (my awesome wife) and Joel Larson, a buddy of mine who has been severely race deprived this season and so is raring to go.  It will be my first stab at being sole navigator on a team, which will make things interesting, as will the fact that the three of us have never trained or paddled together, and that Tammy and I are still on the tail end of a cold.  All the same, it'll be alot more fun than whatever other training i'd have gotten up to this weekend, and a great way to meet other racers.  Team Adrenaline Hunters from Fargo, ND are the only other team representing ND and we'll mainly be racing these guys to see who can return as the fastest Dakotans in Canada.  Good luck guys!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thoughts after two years

Its now a little more than two years that i've been doing this "experiment." During that time i've cut my average training volume from 3 hours a week down to two hours a week.  Presently, i've pretty much settled into a pattern which i feel is geared to maintain a particular base-level of fitness, or get back up to that base level following a major effort (that requires significant recovery).  I'm pretty sure i'm not going to get significantly more fit than I am at that base level, unless i were willing to add more training time.

But this works for me. I like to have a major effort scheduled every 8-10 weeks, which is roughly the time it takes for me to recover from my last big effort and shift the training focus to whatever the next mission is going to require.  For the last little while i've been trying to find my baseline for adventure racing which is tough because it requires 3 core disciplines.  I'm keenly aware that my ability in each of the disciplines is significantly below where it would be were i to have a greater focus on just one or two.  So be it.  

At this point my training consists of a 20 minute speed workout, a 40 minute tempo workout, and a longer 1 hour workout where i try to hold Z3 or greater effort.  I do one workout in each discipline - biking, paddling, and running.  I also do one super-set of strength training for 'pulling' muscle groups (back and biceps) and one for 'pushing muscles (chest, shoulders, tris) a week - this additional time adds up to about six minutes a week, which i don't count towards the two hours.

I'll keep this pattern and try to squeeze every bit of fitness i can out of it until the national championships for adventure racing which takes place in five weeks time.  After that i'll shift gears to running - running twice a week and biking once - and drop the paddling all together.  This is in preparation for an attempt to walk the Arrowhead 135 in late January with Tom Fisher.  After that i'll keep up the running for a hopeful attempt at doing the Border Route trail in under 24 hours this spring with Grant Mehring.  Who knows what the rest of 2012 will hold - but likely there will be a return to competitive adventure racing at some point.... Primal Quest?!

One of these days I'll do another ironman.  Then i'll write the book.

Happy training.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fattening up

I've started training in earnest again - one week under my belt.  Felt a bit like i was starting at rock bottom, but this of course is relative for me.  Ran 5 miles five days ago and i'm still sore - the run felt sloppy, like i was doing it for the first time - and felt pretty tough throughout.

I'm still eating everything in sight, sleeping 9-10 hours a day, and drinking loads of coffee....isn't this all part of the recovery process.  Not sure how much longer i can claim to be in this phase though.  I'm off to Bemidjii this afternoon for "work" and think i'll 'drag' the tire along for a sprint workout.  Right back into the deep end.

I've also committed to having another go at Nationals this year.  The race is about 8 weeks away - pretty close to my perfect period for for peaking.  Wow.  thats some sweet alliteration.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

A month has gone

August was my busy month.  First was trying to get all the loose ends tied up for END-AR24 (the race i direct) before leaving for the Idaho Expedition race (video below), and then i had to come back from that six day event in a sleep deprived state to start my real job of teaching math at a community college before another long four day weekend of hosting END-AR24, "the toughest race in north dakota" in the pembina gorge.  Fun stuff.

Not sure things will slow down - racing Swamp Donkey, a 9 hr. race on sept. 24th with my wife and Joel Larson, and then possibly nationals.  We'll see. And all in between planning a 12 hour mountain bike race, homeschooling my 3 and 5 year old, fixing flooded basements, prepping for two classes, city council meetings regarding building a boat-house, and being a husband and father in general.  Good thing i only work out two hours a week (: