So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, June 2, 2014

(Hide-) Bound to Get Past The Plateau

All right. I'll admit it. I am a creature of habit.

Were I to suddenly become the target of surveillance, for any particular reason, the person or persons assigned to snoop on me would quickly become...well...bored.

They would quickly learn what my closest friends and my wife have described as "the Tao of Bowen."  The "Tao of Bowen," as described by the first observer, an old friend/roommate, was - not surprisingly - completely the opposite of the Army infantryman's credo: 'Why run when you can walk, why walk when you can stand, why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lie down.'

I stick to a few, well-planned workouts which I know have good effect.  It takes a lot of prodding before I try a different long run course on the weekend, or during the week.  My rest days (at this time) are at a regular interval; my cross-training and my strength workouts are on specific days of the week.  And, worst of all, I still try to control as many of the variables as possible.

I don't think it's necessarily a sign of an unhealthy mind; it's not a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder or any form of abnormal psychology.  I know some of it comes from a perceived lack of control over some things when I was younger, but there's some of it which comes from the analytical side of me, the side which desires to maintain balance and harmony, regardless of cost.

Why does this need exist?  Perhaps it has something to do with what the existentialist author, philosopher, and journalist Albert Camus was reported to have said (according to Dean Karnazes) "We are at home in our games because it is the only place we know just what we are supposed to do."

Co-workers have gently kidded me about my memory for little details, a'la Dustin Hoffman's "Rain Man."  When I watched the movie it was a little disturbing to see Hoffman's Raymond react to the slightest variance in the daily routine.  Oh, many times have I sat in a (truly useless) meeting staring at the clock, saying to myself, 'I've got to get to the gym in 15 minutes so I can get the run in,' then be delayed by 15-to-20 minutes, get to the gym and have my run turn out to be total...junk.  My head wasn't in it because I was frustrated by the delay.  Or...I get to the gym, it's a pace interval workout on the treadmill, and all of the televisions are set to a particular television channel I cannot stand.

So there are days, sometimes weeks or even months, where you feel like all you're doing is whacking your head against a wall on a daily basis.  Frustrating is not even the beginning of how it feels to me when I reach a particular plateau.  There are at least two paths to take when you find your head is the part of your body which hurts the most - figuratively - from such wall-bashing.

In the past I've considered a variation in my training: rather than run, for example, a little under five miles - two sets of twenty minutes at eight-minute-per-mile pace, perhaps I'll intersperse five one-minute walk recoveries and go for 45 minutes.  If I have a good day with eight minutes of running, one minute walking, then I'll add another minute of running...slowly increase the total distance, etc., etc.

Lately, though, there's only so many times you can tack on an additional five minutes.  It's not wrong, either, to stay at one place for a while and either work it until you succeed (yes, just like the old adage).  You can also consider backing off to a point where you were making it through the workouts without too much difficulty...stay there for up to three weeks, and then charge the wall one more time.

Either way, you're bound to get past the plateau.  I'm not certain which means is "prettier."

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