Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Lean Training Plan

Dear Readers,
 Here's a little bit about me (Phillip Martin ). I work at an industrial design-build construction company and moderate a manufacturing news website that we created to help our manufacturing customers find information about their market. One of my duties as webmaster is to procure featured articles for publication on the site. Many of these articles focus on the topic of lean manufacturing.

Lean is a giant term that can be used to describe a process of doing or making something that is undertaken with a specific emphasis on the elimination of waste in order to maximize benefit. This really got started with Toyota and their Toyota Production System and has a myriad of special terms to make it sound extra fancy.

One item of lean that I've become particularly interested in from an endurance perspective is PDCA - Plan Do Check Act.

The expanded steps for PDCA have been described as follows:
  1. Decide what's important
  2. Set Goals
  3. Organize
  4. Execute Your Plan
  5. Innovate As You Go
  6. Step Back and Learn
  7. Repeat

If you have ever (successfully) undertaken an endurance race, you know all about planning. You understand that it's more than just your body that gets you from the start to the finish. There was a training plan put in place months before you got to the start line that will get you through the race.

Due to my recent exposure to lean, I've started asking myself how would a Lean Guru plan for a distance race? This is what I came up with
  1. Decide what's important - Goal Time? Win Age Group? Stay Injury Free? Don't Puke?
  2. Set Goals - These goals have to enforce the important factors identified. (ex - Injury prevention might mean setting a goal of taking 1 day of active rest or complete rest a week)
  3. Organize - What materials do you need to make this happen? Got a faster bike split in mind? New tires and an aero helmet might be a good investment. What's your schedule going to be like? How are you going to "do life" and train?
  4. Execute Your Plan - Train - actually follow your predetermined plan.
  5. Innovate As You Go - You made the plan, so you can change the plan if it's bogus. Intervals always give you knee pain? Lay off. Having trouble staying hydrated? Try a new fuel system.
  6. Step Back and Learn - After the race is done, take a look back at your training log and see what actually happened. What workouts were you likely to skip? Where there any training sessions that were always followed by nagging pain? 
  7. Repeat - Come back next time smarter and faster.
Hopefully this little plan helps someone as they plan their next event. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Love to Tri? Try to Love

The mother of all triathlons was last weekend and boy what a show! Kona nerds certainly got several surprises (I certainly didn't think Macca would be DNF). Men's winner Pete Jacobs put on a good show all the way through and deserved his win 100%.

In his post-race interview, Jacobs talked about one of the most important keys to his winning the race. Was it his sleek bike? No. The blistering intervals he did during training? Nope. The invisible dolphin he rode during the swim? Almost but not really. Love? You bet!

The Bible has tons to say about love. God sacrificed His son Jesus for love of His own creation. The disciples gave up their entire lives due to their love for Christ. Followers of Christ should give 10% (or more) of their income to His church because they love Him. The list goes on and on, but the Bible doesn't exactly talk about how love would help you face down a pack of hungry Ironman triathletes at the end of a marathon. So what's up with love?

Anyone who believes in God must agree that God is powerful. You don't create the universe without power. If we can also agree that God is love, then we can assume that their is power in love. By acting out of love we are acting in accordance with God's will. As the Bible tells us, those who are outside of God's will don't tend to make it very far, so love is in our best interest. To boot, Paul, John, George and Ringo also thought love was pretty important.

The power of positive thinking and positive visualization are nothing new in sports. By harnessing love rather than rage or hate (Ex -You gotta get mad to win!) during a race you not only save yourself the mental energy of thinking negative thoughts, but you also tap into something more spiritually powerful and ultimately more pleasing all around.

Unless you plan on making triathlon your job, your main goal is probably to have fun and enjoy yourself. Who's ever said "Let's get up really early, put on weird clothes, go run for a few hours and spend the entire time thinking negative thoughts - it'll be fun!"? That outlook certainly doesn't appeal to me, and I doubt it does to you either.

Want to have the best shot at winning your next race and maybe enjoying life a bit more altogether? Try love on for size. It's Christ tested, God approved.

I don't mean to speak for Pete Jacobs at all in writing this. I have no reason to believe his comments were motivated by faith. This is my attempt to use his popular comments as a jumping off point for my own discussion.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Running to a God Place in Times of Challenge

Below are nothing but the thoughts of a runner/tri'er who, when facing a recent challenge, thought up something he found insightful. This someone happens to be Phillip James Martin (writer of this blog and the sentence you just read). The thoughts are as follows:

If God is taking me some place unknown, then it must be a good place. He might not make it an easy place, but it will be a place made for my holiness.

Don't be scared when He decides to move you. He doesn't give great walls or giant warriors to those without the strength to bring them down.

Fear isn't the whole story anyway. The real story isn't about those who fear, but about the ones who fear and walk into the fire anyway. It's not those who can't fail that succeed, but those who trust in Him to succeed through their failures that take the day.

It's not about the unknown, or the challenge, or the fear, but the faith it takes to walk through them all.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gluten Free Snacks for Athletes

Were you this happy
at the end of your first
 10 mile run?
My beautiful wife is a new convert to the sport of running. She completed the Peachtree 10k last year like a boss and is already moving on to the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon this month. (Some how I convinced her that a 13.1 mile run is a romantic way to spend our 1st wedding anniversary.)

Although she doesn't seem to have any weaknesses (I put Kryptonite in her coffee once - nothing!) there is one thing that can really ruin her day: gluten. Her gluten allergy forces her to be extra careful about what foods she consumes.

Sadly, the options for gluten free training snacks that offer a good balance on carbs and protein can be hard to find.

Thankfully the good people at posted this sum up of a few of the best gluten free fuel options.

I highly recommend the Pro Bars but feel free to try them all.