It's time for week two of the Alex Hutchinson podcast extravaganza, and as promised my salient takeaway and additional thoughts on this week's discussion. If you missed part two of the chat, then feel free to have a listen HERE.
As I mentioned last week, I have the deepest respect for Alex and his work, and it helps that his mindset resonates with so much Purple Patch. While I believe the episodes stand up for themselves, so additional insights and thoughts might be beneficial. Here is my hit list from the show. Remember, the main topics were focused on strength and recovery, the final two Purple Patch Pillars of Performance.
- Don’t wait to commence your dedication to strength. What came across loud and clear from Alex was the role of strength training, and how it is applicable to all populations of athletes. It isn’t a nice supplement for women or older athletes, it is a central performance booster for all levels of athlete. You have heard that before somewhere. Let me think where?
- Don’t look in the mirror and think you will see bulk: Even if some additional muscle mass is put on with earlier season emphasis, the catabolic characteristics of endurance activity will melt away bulk in short order. Strength gains, and the benefits of strength training for endurance athletes, are not measured in the circumference of your biceps or quads, so diffuse the stress on bulk-building.
- Strength is about performance potential, not avoiding a negative: Once again, a clear message on building strength into your weekly routine isn’t just about developing a resistance to injury, it is about improving your performance across various elements of performance. Your very own performance enhancer - delivered by hard graft.
- Modalities schmodalities. I was surprised to hear Alex launch into a discussion about recovery in almost the same way I discuss the topic. He began with the structure of the training program, then evolved to nutrition and sleep. Unlike many others, who get drawn to the tools and gadgets, he went for the building blocks. You have heard me discuss ‘nail the basics’ so many times, but here was another example. Before you start believing fasting, compression shorts, cryotherapy or HRV is the solution to your readiness, realize it all begins -- and falls apart -- due to the habits about the basic and repeatable.
- It takes courage to recover -- take the easy road -- which is tough. Once gain, a hugely important lesson, around how important it is to go easy in the lower stress supporting sessions. It is friggin hard to go easy, but if Jesse Thomas can run his easy runs at 8.5 minute per mile, while racing under 5.5 minutes per mile, I believe you are able to embrace the easy.
- Orthorexia is a real thing -- and too common. I had recently been reading up on orthorexia, a term you may have heard, when Alex popped it into conversation. It is a very real challenge for too many athlete-centric folks, both male and female. The obsession of high quality habits to a detrimental level is ripe in endurance athletes, and one that is worthy of further discussion. If we extend the ethos of Purple Patch to a broader level, I like to think we aim to be the alternate mindset of this type of road that leads to places such as this illness. Yes, we want you to improve and reach your goals. This is important. But we don’t want you to do this at the expense of your physical and mental health, your performance in broader life, or your relationships. A healthy lens of sport and eating ultimately creates best performance. We have a light-hearted saying: everything in moderation, including excess. As fun as this it, it has very deep meaning to us, and embracing it can help you performance.
Don’t miss the chance to connect with Alex live. We are planning a mid-February session with Alex, and will ask for your questions in advance. It should be a good one. Details coming.
Live coaching for you. You are sure to have seen a fair amount of hubbub around the emergence of our live and video-on-demand (VOD) bike sessions, you may have even just tried the VOD session last week? We are just a few weeks away from our transition to a new platform - www.interval.com - to deliver the experience and house the VOD sessions. With this in mind, we are also planning to expand our live schedule of coached sessions. We are based in San Francisco, so have a little limitation on the live options, but hope to tailor it as close to your training schedule as possible.
To help us tailor the live sessions to as many folks as possible, please fill out this very fast feedback form, which will assist in our decision making around timing of additional live workouts. These will come as bike, then addition to strength, finally a likely addition of treadmill and circuit classes. All will be supported with VOD options.
Help us -- so that we can help you! Thanks so much in advance.