Tuesday, December 07, 2010


We human beings live by cycles.

Ever since our remote ancestors crawled out of the seas (and maybe before) our lives have been governed by the astronomical cycles. The annual journey of the earth around the sun and its impact on the seasons. The annual rotation of the moon around the earth and the complex cycle of tides that result. Summer and winter. High tide and low tide. Up and down. Round and round.

Some religious dudes invented the week. I never did quite understand why all the world's major religions decided that one rest day in seven would be a good idea. I prefer two rest days. Actually I prefer seven.

Athletes live by cycles too. Those Olympic sailors training all year have some kind of plan involving cycles of different kinds of training at different times of year, all aimed at peaking for that one big event. The Olympic Trials. The World Championship. Whatever.

All the experts agree (or, to put it another way, I read it somewhere on the Internet) that you should work on different cycles in weight lifting too. Strength. Power. Endurance. Hypertrophy - whatever that is. Is the America's Cup a hypertrophy?

I've been thinking about cycles a lot as I have been designing an exercise program to avoid a recurrence of my dismal, pathetic, disappointing, shameful, wimpish performance at the last Laser Masters Worlds.

Actually, I find that my motivation to go Laser sailing at all goes in cycles.

After I sailed (almost) 100 times in 2008, I hardly sailed my Laser at all in 2009.

And the year that I had my best performance ever at the Masters Worlds, 2007, I had sailed a lot of regattas that summer prior to the Worlds, probably because the previous winter I hadn't done any frostbiting at all.

So is that the key? Take the winter off. Sail a lot in the summer. Go to a major regatta at the end of the summer and do well?

It's certainly a conundrum. How to manage the amount of sailing I do in different seasons in order to maintain my enthusiasm and to peak for the event that means the most to me.

One of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog in 2005 was about Focus. In 2006 I sold my Sunfish and have been concentrating on Laser sailing ever since.

Maybe that was a mistake? The whole focus thing? Maybe I should sail different boats at different times of the year? I have a friend who sails mainly his Sunfish in the summer and does Laser frostbiting in the winter. His improvement in the last few years and his racing results have been exceptional. Perhaps we need to cycle through boats?

And so I continue to search for the cycles that will work best for me.

Any suggestions?


Chris Partridge said...

Laser in the summer. Row in the winter. Simples!
(PS Simples! is the latest craze in the UK. It is impossible to explain anything without saying "Simples!" in cod-Russian accent).

Mojo said...

Excellent suggestion by ChrisP!

What you need for the rowing is one of these... erg

Work out on that machine and you'll be in the best condition of your life. Simples!

Pat said...

Different boats = cross training?

PeconicPuffin said...

Sail something over the winter. Anything. Keeping our heads and muscle memory in the game (even if the boat is substantially different from the warm weather ride) eliminates Spring "rustyness" and accellerates the learning curve. Or at least keeps us learning. Or at least prevents us from getting worse. Much worse.

Anonymous said...

Pretty ladies in dresses riding bicycles.

Another typical day in Milan.

EscapeVelocity said...

My plan for when I win the lottery is summers in Maine and summers in New Zealand.

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