Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Training During the Fires

If you live in San Diego County, there is no doubt you are facing some tough decisions with the fires, as to whether or not you should be training.

Obviously if there is smoke outside your windows, you're not too concerned with your training volume and schedule. However, if you've been displaced or are not in immediate threat of flames, chances are you're looking outside your window and considering training.

So what are your choices, and what is recommended at this point in time? This situation is rare, and most people don't fully know or understand the situation, or more importantly, the consequences of training in these conditions.

As a coach, I called all my clients this week and told them NOT to train this week, aerobically. I live in Pacific Beach, where we have not been threatened with any flames or worry of evacuations, but I can look out my window and see ash covering my truck. If I sat and watched out my window, I could see the ash in the air. It's important to recognize, if you can see particulates in the air, chances are there are plenty more you can't even see.

A great website I checked for confirmation on this decision was:

Last check on this website, had all beach communities, from Oceanside to Downtown, and even inland areas, listed as "Unhealthy", and measurements not far from "Very Unhealthy".

The other key item to consider is your season. I am done with my season as an athlete, since Kona was my last race. But if your last race is the 70.3 Worlds, or some other race, you need to consider your training.

Here is the biggest tip I can give anyone still worried about training, REST IS YOUR FRIEND. Chances are, you can use this situation to your advantage, and use the downtime to rest and prepare for your finale.

The most important thing during rest and peak time is intensity. If you maintain intensity, you can keep your fitness. If you need to workout, you need to be working out indoors, with your sessions being quick and to the point. Warm-up, get in the race intensity you need to simulate your race, and then cool down. Down worry about endurance training, your whole season has prepared you for that, now is the time to focus on rest and sharpening.

Also realize, a few simple workouts in this air quality can leave you coughing for weeks, and certainly affecting your ability breathe in the big race you're worried about.

So check out the air quality in your area, and make the smart decision. Either bag it, or make every effort to do your workouts indoors, but brief.

Best of luck!

Coach Vance

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