Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mike Corona

A Comeback Case Study

One of my favorite quotes is from "Rocky Balboa" about life. Rocky tells his son how, "Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life." He goes on to say, "But it ain't how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward..."

You could say life gave me a nasty upper cut right to the chin a couple years ago, that resulted in losing my fitness and gaining lots of fat. Then I lost the itch to train and race.

Coming Back From a Layoff - Part 2: The Long-Term Break

Coming back from a long layoff doesn’t have to be hard, but it is not something that will just happen.

Coming Back From a Layoff - Part 1: The Short-Term Break

We all go through ups and downs while training, especially those of us who are amateur athletes. A lot of other things will take priority: work, family, kids and even other hobby’s. Before you know it, it has been a few weeks or even a month or two since any meaningful training. I find it best to first realize one thing: it is no big deal!

Going Short

For those who follow the founding member of Endurance Corner, you may notice the title of the article is a play on his book, “Going Long”.

But where does short course racing fit in a long course athlete's season? Perhaps a better question is, does it even belong there in the first place?

My personal opinion is, absolutely!

Race Planning

Race planning is an often an overlooked aspect of racing, with many athletes showing up and deciding to “wing it” on the assumption that their fitness is all they need to race well. I have seen “A” races blown to bits before the race even started due to a lack of a solid race plan.

“Before Breakthrough Training, Chop Wood, Carry Water. After Breakthrough Training, Chop Wood, Carry Water”

I borrowed today’s title from the Zen saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

What is breakthrough training? For me, it is about viewing it the right way: it is a continual quest with no end date and no real peak. When the goal is to qualify, it is not fair to the coach or the athlete to pick a specific race or year.

Be Tough

When people talk about being tough, they tend to think about gritting their teeth, sucking it up, pushing through the pain and displaying to themselves and those looking on that they go hard all the time. They do not rest or take it easy; surely this is the result of a strong mind that allows them to push through the pain.

From my viewpoint, this couldn’t be further from the truth, nor is it what makes someone mentally tough.

An Interview on Ultra

by Mike Corona

March is “Ultra” month at Endurance Corner and due to my limited exposure in that area, I took the opportunity to reach out to a friend who I met through the sport so I could learn more about the distance and share my discoveries with the readers here.

Adam Peruta, a Syracuse native and professor at Ithaca College, has been involved in endurance sports for five years. He recently discovered a passion for the ultra distance events, including Ultraman.

The length of the event intrigues me, and I was curious as to how the prep differs from events the typical long course athlete is accustomed. When I caught up with Adam, he was just finishing up a new experience on the StartupBus, which consists of 25 people on a bus, where the group splits into small teams to launch a new startup idea from conception to life. In essence, it is three days without sleep, pitching ideas, designing and coding. What drew Adam to the StartupBus is the same internal question that drove him to Ultraman: "I've never done this before; I wonder if I can I do it?”

He completed Ultraman Canada in 2010, and when he crossed the line, he thought, "Why would anyone want to do that again?!" But when he received an invitation to back up his Canada performance with Ultraman Hawaii, he said he instantly knew he wanted to do it, because of that “Can I do it?” question.

It seems that is the central driving force for his decisions and race schedule; to constantly push his limits and discover whether he can achieve the goal. The aspect I was most interested in was his training, and how it differs from ironman prep. His main point was that although it is more than two-and-a-half times the distance, you do not have to accomplish two-and-a-half times the training. Instead, based on his research, he "stacks" his training to help trick his body into thinking it's doing more than it is. A typical stack for Adam looks like this:

Travel to Train

When I look over the past year and where I have been, the biggest "bang for my buck" on my travel dollar was a training camp with the crew at Endurance Corner.

The last time I was in Boulder, it was a ski trip for my college spring break. If I had been told then the next time I would be back it would be for 30 hours of exercise, I would have not have believed it!

Before I joined Endurance Corner, I would often send e-mails to some of the advisors of the team to learn. Never did I imagine I would have the opportunity to train with them side by side. As it turns out, it is quite simple for anyone!

Limited by Blind Spots

One of the best ways to improve at almost anything is to work the weakest link within the set of skills required to be good. For triathlon, we tend to keep things simple and focus on swim, bike and run. That seems easy enough, but before we put the bike away for a couple of months and set off for 50 mile run weeks, are we actually sure what makes up our true limiter?