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.