Monday, February 19, 2007

Off Track

Fellow Laser sailor and blogger ab wrote a post 365 Days last week in which he takes stock about whether he is on track to achieve his goals for the Laser World Championships in Australia in one year's time. His answer is no. Not enough sailing. Not getting to the gym or out on the bike.

I know how he feels. In September last year I set myself
a goal for the Laser Masters Worlds in Spain in September this year but by November I was already asking myself in Commitment Questions about why it seems so much easier to stick to my marathon training program than to a program for training to become a better sailor.

Like ab I too feel than I'm not on track with what I need to do to achieve my sailing goals. There are positives for sure. I had some excellent weeks of practice in Menorca and Cabarete with some high quality input from coaches on what I need to improve. On the other hand I haven't done as much sailing at home as I had hoped in the last few months. Nor have I worked much on my fitness other than cardio and endurance work through running.

However I am still on track with my training for the London Marathon in April. Completed the 23 mile run on Saturday with nothing worse than the normal expected tiredness. Only two more long runs to do. I really feel I'm going to make it.

Outside there is snow on the ground and the lake is still mostly frozen. The wind chill today is below zero Fahrenheit. The good news is that the Laser sailing season at my frostbiting club starts two weeks on Sunday. Can't wait.


ab said...

Wow - you link to my post, and all of a sudden I get two weeks worth of traffic in six hours... the power of a Tillerman link!

By the way, do you find much cross training benefit with the running and the sailing, or are they too different to really complement each other?

Tillerman said...

Really? You got more traffic? I didn't know I had that much influence.

I think running is of some benefit to Laser sailing. Probably helps with the quad muscles and overall endurance. And I think I've mentioned before that some of my best sailing results have been a day or two after a hard run -- not sure why -- may be more of a psychological effect.

We got to discussing this after the Carribbean Laser Midwinters in Cabarete and opinions differed sharply. I discovered one of the other sailors was also a marathon runner. Bur other sailors thought that too much running carried a risk of other stress injuries.

Carol Anne said...

My observations support the idea that excelling in one sport makes it easier (or at least less difficult) to excel in another. There's the whole mindset of concentrating on doing well, and that has nothing to do with particular muscle groups or training techniques. I sail with a brilliant sailor who, until he was in his late 30s, never touched a sailboat. But now, he's probably the best racing sailor between San Diego and Houston.

He was a pole-vaulter, and he led the UTEP team to the NCAA Championship in the late 1970s. He would have been on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team and probably would have won the gold medal, except that the U.S. boycotted the Olympics that year. He held the world record for pole-vaulting in the mid-1980s. He was the first person over the age of 40 to clear 18 feet.

Then he switched to sailing, and he nearly made the Olympic team in Stars. He's still sailing well, to the point that he blows away anybody else on the race course -- although I do hope to beat him some day.

So running carries a risk of stress injuries? Well, driving a car carries a risk of all sorts of nasty injuries, especially since you can't control the actions of other drivers on the road. Are you going to stop driving a car just because you might be involved in an accident that restricts your ability to sail?

Now, I'm not a sports physiologist, but my instinct tells me that the physical fitness that you get from running makes you a better sailor, especially since you do sail a Laser, which requires a lot of physical fitness to sail well. And what matters even more is that you enjoy the running, and you gain benefits from it beyond just the physical conditioning. Don't stop just because somebody thinks it's a bad idea.

Tillerman said...

Great points Carol Anne. Especially that general comment about whether excelling in one sport makes it easier to excel in another. Or to put it another way, are there certain habits, attitudes, talents, whatever, that enable some people to do well at almost any sport they chose? I feel a blog post coming on...

"Raps" said...

There is a lot of evidence to support the claim that learning one task will make it easier to perform a different task. Neuroscientists have found that people who excel at a musical instrument also are talented at math. There are several other published studies to support this theory. Fascinating stuff!

JP said...

Good luck in the training and the marathon itself, tillerman - and hope you have a good time in London

Will you be here for a long time before / after?

Tillerman said...

Yes jp - we will be in the UK about 10 days. First week visting relatives and then 4 nights in London for the marathon etc.

Tim said...

Hey if youre in London this weekend I think the dinghy exhibition is on at Alexandra palace! Might be worth a visit!

Tillerman said...

Thanks but the marathon is in April.

I did go to that dinghy show many years ago when I lived in the UK and I took son #1 a.k.a. Litoralis-the-UK-Tacticat-Champion.

He was just a little whippersnapper then but perhaps it was that visit that inspired him to achieve his current fame as a Tacticat superstar?

Anonymous said...

Hi Tillerman!

Don't think of myself as active in the blogosphere, but your content always seems to drum up a comment in me.

I've added running to the mix along with an active sailing program over the past few years. I'm not a marathoner, but I started getting up to significant miles per week. Cerrtainly when compared to where I started.

I experienced a running injury. IT band syndrome.
I think from adding miles too quickly and running lots of hills.

I found that sailing and running in succession compounded this injury. I do lots of bent leg hiking - I think the straight leg hiking of the laser might be easier on the knees.

To the point that I run the most in the winter and tail off to the minimum to stay in shape during the sailing season.

I agree with all the mental benefits of cross training and how one can compliment the other.
I might be the exception, but I've had to use moderation in how I mixed sailing and running.

And I'm not very good with moderation in sailing....

Just my $.02


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