Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Come Monday

Mondays are for taking it easy. Now that I've started sailing on Sundays, especially after a day like last Sunday, my plan is to do no physical exercise on Mondays. No running. No weight training. Just recovery. Sunday was a day when I pushed myself to the physical limit - four hours of Laser sailing in heavy air and I was done. Knackered as we say in British English. So Mondays are for letting the aching muscles recover. A relaxed stroll around town with Tillerwoman maybe, but I have to keep reminding her that we're not in a race; her idea of walking pace is only slightly slower than my running pace.

But that's not all. Mondays are also for what Eric Twiname calls "race post mortem". Post mortem? Hey, I may be tired but I'm not actually deceased. Let's call it post race analysis. It's one of the twelve ways of learning that he suggests in his book Sail, Race and Win - the bible for anyone trying to coach themselves to improve at sailboat racing.

Over the years I've kept notes about my racing on and off. More often off than on. One of my resolutions this year is to keep a log after every day of racing and every day of practice. Here's what Twiname says ...

For the coaching-self the race begins when the boat has crossed the finish line. Mistakes were made, boats overtook. Why? Can the same problem be avoided the next time? Mentally re-running the race is a valuable way of making the most of it and learning from mistakes........ It is the most convenient way and easy way to improve.

So on Mondays I make notes of what went well and what mistakes I made. Things I need to practice in future. Even if I never refer back to the notes, the mere acts of sitting down for a time of reflection and writing down the conclusions are a way of solidifying the lessons learned from a day's racing.

In our frostbite fleet, the tradition is for the daily winner to speak at the post-race skippers' meeting on how he (or she) won the day. This can also provide valuable insights that are written down in the same logbook. What did he do that I didn't? Did he spot something about the wind or the current that I missed? Did he set his boat up differently? What are his boat-handling techniques in certain conditions?

I'm building up a long list of things to work on. But there's one significant area of racing skills that is emerging as a key priority for me to develop this year. I'll write about it later this week.


Litoralis said...

I'm on the edge of my seat.

Hillary said...

You massacre my trivia boards day after day, yet I'm not on your blogroll? Where is the love, tillerman? And...how did you know the answers to those Breakfast at Tiffany's questions?

Anonymous said...

Tillerman, I'm with you on walking at a leisurely pace, strolling. One of my friends insists on walking very quickly all the time so she can "keep up her heart rate." Very strange person.

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