Monday, February 1, 2016

Decluttering for Camp

by Sue Aquila

As a business owner, myself and many others use a program called Quickbooks to track our finances. It is an excellent program for running the accounting side of your business. It has one inherent problem that many successful programs share: bloating. Each iteration of the program adds something new, something better and something that makes the program bigger, more complicated and slower. Eventually this little successful program becomes this bloated behemoth that customers devolve from loving to loving to hate.

Bloating may be part of the hard wiring in our brains. How often do you see it in your training? It might start with 10 crunches on Monday before bed. Three weeks later you are up to 100 crunches before bed three nights a week. Or maybe you started with a vitamin supplement and a few months later you find yourself taking 20 pills a day. All in search of the edge, the better.

I think of training camps as our opportunity to declutter, reduce the bloat and do the work. As you approach camp, the week or two before camp is the perfect time to enjoy the reduced training time and reduce your bloat. Things to address:

  • Work: Prepare your coworkers of business for your absence. Consider not checking your email/Twitter/Facebook. Set up a special gmail account that you will access once per day. Only give the address to key people that practice restraint. Tell them specifically to please only use it in emergencies. Don't answer the email unless it is a true emergency.
  • Partner: Treat your partner incredibly well the week before you leave. Pick up the slack at home, treat them to a romantic dinner out and tell them repeatedly how thankful you are for the training pass. Want to win major bonus points? Hide some notes around the house to surprise them while you are gone. No need to thank me now.
  • Kids: There are great lessons in our dedication to our sport. Our kids understand some of the lessons, but most often they don't and usually they don't care. If your kids are young, leave some videos of you reading some of their favorite books. If your kids are older, consider a small wrapped gift every day or two. If they are in high school, leave them a note with a picture reminding them that they have another parent and to stay out of your stuff. Hide the keys to the nice car.
  • Fatigue: You will get tired in camp. The cost of overload and improvement is fatigue. Pack a few anchors to remind you of what is important. A family picture and a swim cap from Hawaii are helpful for different -- but important -- reasons.
  • Equipment: Prepare what you need, release what don't you need and make sure  it is all in great shape.
  • Nutrition: Camp is a great time to practice any new kinds of race nutrition. Consider just using what your camp offers. You may find something new to dial in for upcoming races.
  • Clothing. The dilemma of what to wear at camp is a hard one.  Anticipate every freak weather pattern ever documented hitting your camp. Have an outfit for epic snow, one for hurricanes and another for a heat wave.  
  • Ego: Do not pack it. When you get to camp remember you are attending a master class in triathlon. If you are not the camp director or instructor make sure you are listening more than you are talking. Take notes, ask questions and watch.
  • Training: You will get to camp fresh and ready to rumble. Resist the urge to crush it the first day or two. Camp like you train/race with a negative split. Have a strong healthy finish with the satisfaction of knowing that you banked quite a training load.

Camp is a wonderful time to be a professional athlete. You get to raise your bar and help others to raise theirs. Don't ruin it with bloat, distractions and by having one leg back at work or at home. Declutter and feel the lightness of being exactly in the aerobic present.


Sue started her triathlon journey with a 50 pound weight loss and continues as a Kona qualifier. As a successful entrepreneur, she believes that, “You can run your business like your training and your training like your business!” As a coach (USAT Certified), she helps athletes to develop success in all areas of their lives: family, health and work. She blogs regularly at fewoman.com. You can find her on Twitter @fewoman.
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