The Next Level - June 2004

Greetings and welcome once again to The Next Level Newsletter. This is Volume I, Issue VI. This is the part where I say something witty, but Iím completely blank. Itís been a long week.

Lots of cool stuff going on! The completely official One Step Beyond Multisport Coaching website has gone through a couple rounds of design and is now ready for you to criticize it. :) The address is www.osbmultisport.com. My world-class art department (a college buddy) and I are working around the clock (heís getting toasty at a wedding this weekend) to get all the bugs worked out - some links donít work - but you can get the feel for it now.

We do hope that the website represents the growing nature of OSB Multisport and my coaching abilities. Feel free to send your friends there when they ask who your coach is. Currently, OSB is maxed out on athletes Ė you folks are it. If anyone asks, I do have a waiting list.

OSB athletes are doing very well with both training and racing. Greg C duly impressed Coach Marty a couple of weeks ago by negative splitting the Lakeshore MarathonÖand qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Weíve got a qualifier! Great job, Greg!

Coach Marty, your humble narrator, did manage to put his money where his mouth is, taking seventh overall at the inaugural Georgia Rock-n-Roll Half Ironman (http://www.gamultisports.com). I did race to the finish line on this one, edging out 8th place by 9 seconds, and wow, did it hurt. But like I said last month, you have to give it everything you have on race day. Thereís always time to chat and be nice afterwards.

Now that we are well into the racing season, Iíd like to briefly address the issue of burnout. Burnout occurs when we try to do too much or go too hard. If itís caught early, then a couple days of R&R are usually enough to rejuvenate the body and soul. However, itís easy to overlook the early signs and continue to work, shuffle responsibilities, and overtrain ourselves into the ground.

The schedules I write for you, especially you IM folks, are fairly challenging. I do my best to ensure that theyíre well balanced and allow for proper recovery. However, since I neither live near most of you nor see you on a regular basis, I canít tell when you might need a day or two off. Iím still perfecting my art, and while my psychic skills are good, theyíre not all-encompassing. As such, part of our deal is that you need to listen to your body, let me know if you think you might be overdoing it, and I am happy to offer some solutions. Communication, as they say, is key.

Now, all of you are hard workers and dedicated to your training, which makes my job easy. But I have no control over the other stressors in your life, and those, combined with challenging, time-limited schedules are the issues that usually result in temporary burnout (and could lead to overtraining syndrome if not nipped early).

Always take a holistic look at what youíre doing and what youíre trying to accomplish. Your schedules and my advice are tools to be used as guides, but youíre the ones making the final decisions. Please remember that the next time youíre looking at a 14-hour workday with a recommended double workout thrown into the mix!

Itís a given that the more you can train, the better youíll perform, in general. But big training requires a buildup to be able to handle that workload. Overdoing it early, loading up open days to make up for missed workouts, and/or extended periods of higher volume without adequate recovery are all training schemes that defeat the purpose. Injuries, chronic fatigue, and mental exhaustion are things we want to avoid like the plague.

A few early signs of overtraining/ burnout:

Now, donít confuse these with the good fatigue/temporary exhaustion you experience from those quality race rehearsals and challenging bricks. Thatís part of the equation of specific preparedness and mental toughness.

Basically, my goal as a coach is to get you as well prepared as is realistically possible, while encouraging you to enjoy the process. In doing so I may ask you to push the boundaries of your current ability, since thatís the only way to get faster. We need to work together to make sure we donít push too hard, too much, or too soon. But you must realize that those boundaries are what hold all of us back, and the only way to be better is to keep testing them. Therein lies both the challenge, the problem, and the solution.

Until next time!

Enjoy your sport,
Marty Gaal
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