the interstices

I was so sore from Friday’s sandbagging workout! What an awesome WOD. I really liked it. I feel good now. Over the next three weeks I’m going to miss WODs like that, and the variable semi-randomness of Shanna’s programming.

It’s time for a rest from training. We hear and talk all the time about periodizing our training plans, but there’s no agreement among athletes and training junkies about how long a training period should be, or on how much seasonal or post- and pre-event rest should be included in a plan. And I only know that it’s time to rest because, well, here I am.

I am lying on the floor of my parent’s condo in Portland. My dad is nearby cursing at his computer. There is going to be close quarters with family for several weeks. My son is turning one tomorrow; he’s sleeping in the bathroom tonight. My daughter is sharing our bedroom on an inflatable cot.

It’s the end of a long long day of travel. We left at 2:00 am on Sunday morning, driving from Asheville to Charlotte. Kids, stroller, backpacks, suitcases, car seats, handbags, carry ons, all made it to Portland by 11:00 am Pacific.

(I did this particular travel day in a fasted state — it was a full 19 hours between my last feeding at 8:00 pm EST on Saturday and 12:00 pm PST on Sunday. I highly recommend fasting travel, by the way. It works for me.)

I feel especially lucky — I am lucky, I know — to work in an industry in which my life is automatically periodized. At my college, the calendar year is divided into three major parts: Spring Semester (about 17 weeks), Summer (about 14 weeks), and Fall Semester (17 weeks), and it also includes four annual vacation periods: Fall Break (4 day weekend), Thanksgiving Break (5 day weekend), Christmas Break (3 full weeks), and Spring Break (1 full week).

Such periodicization provides both an opportunity and a challenge for designing and sticking with a year-long training plan.

You can’t practice something if you’re not there doing it.

Transitions and liminal periods are difficult enough to reconcile with continuous discipline and practice in some particular mode of training. Even more so if they include travel.

Training gets interrupted by holidays and foreseeable seasonal surges of activity and travel. Especially in my family. My solution is to not worry about it. It would be stupid and besides would annoy my friends whose work doesn’t include such opportunities for extended rest and recuperation. (To avoid a lynch mob, I say remember: I have basically exchanged job prestige and monetary reward for all this vacation time.)

Worry never helped anyone. Instead of fretting, I embrace these times of being with family as an enforced and ultimately welcome change of routine. Possibly, such a change will assist in positive adaptation to my overall training program. It’s not like I’m going to sit around and do nothing. It’ll just be a bit different. I’ll be in the gym tomorrow with my dad, for example, lifting weights. And we’ll take it from there.

These are times to strengthen my training by taking more rest days, emphasizing different training modalities, and doing more play.

Instead of fretting about missing the gym, I think of the transitions between semesters as periods of deliberate neglect. I neglect those aspects of my training that are best done in the company of my fellow CrossFitters, or which can only be done with a space for Olympic lifting and gymnatics, etc. When I come back to training those kinds of lifts and met-cons, I will be the stronger for having changed my routine for a while.

Let me know what you think...