Runners often get caught up in the latest shoe that is marketed to make them run faster. Personally, I like a shoe that feels good. I want shoes that have a wide toe box and won’t rub my toes wrong.
Once, after a 1/2 marathon in Delaware, I took my shoes off to learn the more narrow toe box had chewed away a toe nail during the race. Others followed after a few days of unsuccessfully trying to hang on. Since then, I’ve worn wider shoes.
The Newtons I wear seem just about perfect for my feet. Like must of us, my feet aren’t exactly the same. There not mismatched to the degree where one foot needs another size. Both feet are either 9.5 or 10.0 depending on the shoe. A little wider shoe compensates for the minor difference in my two feet.
I’ll run in a pair of shoes until they fall apart. Over time my shoes do fall apart. Those old Newtons (the red pair) had about a year of running in them before they gave up the ghost.
You and I may have never met. It is an easy assumption considering 15,000 readers come to this site every month. Chances are you are an archer. Odds are you may not be in the greatest shape of your life.
Nearly every week I see a lot of archers. A good many of them are better archers than me. (To be fair – not that many) Here’s the thing, some of you are a bit overweight.
Archery takes a lot of practice and many hours to gain the skill you have and need. Most of you have a full time job, or in school, maybe have a family to support, and must find time to practice with your bow. You’re lucky to get an hour’s worth of shooting in a few times a week. There’s no time to do cardio work that will help keep your fitness. Therein lays the problem.
Over years and years of archery practice 3 – 4 times a week, working all day, and skipping exercise adds to your health in that it takes a toll. You’ll one day end up that old geezer flinging arrows huffing and puffing while trying to walk the range. Overtime, your waist sort of ballooned, your blood pressure increased, and sleep is intermittent at best. You may already be there.
I know I’m describing some of you. I’ve shot with archers in their 20s and 30s that had to stop and rest between targets on a 3D range. More than once I have been in a group where we needed to wait while an archer sat down and caught his breath before we could continue.
It is common to see “chunky” archers. I mean archers need to not move to be good. Hence, our sport isn’t going to burn the calories the way a triathlon does. But, being fit can help you stand still when you need to and stay an archer longer.
If you are concerned that you may be headed down the road of obesity, sleep apnea, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, find help now.
There’s a pro archer I knew in Europe. Three years ago he said, “The only time you’ll see me running is if I’m being chased.” He may have tried to run, but he’d not have gotten very far. A year later, after some health issues, he rides a bike, takes walks, and has improved in diet. He has, at last count, lost 50 pounds. Has his shooting improve, no he’s still really good. However, his health has improved significantly.
He may get slightly better as an archer in that he’ll have improved stamina toward the end of those long, shoot-a-lot tournaments where he finds himself in a shoot down. The weight loss and physical conditioning is going help make those long days shooting feel a bit less taxing.
It is hard work to be fit. It is a lot easier to not worry about fitness, practice archery only, and roll on down a path that leads to health problems. Those problems, by the way, will reduce the time you have to enjoy archery.
If you aren’t taking a total fitness approach to archery consider it. Overall, it will be good for you.
It is too easy to stay awake after a long day. Too many of us don’t want to miss a night out or a night watching a favorite show. While at the time your doing whatever it is that is keeping you away from the sack it won’t help your athletic performance.
As a species we’re becoming more sleep deprived. How many hours do you sleep per night? Six, seven, five? That generally is not enough if you are looking for peek sports performance.
There are e numbers of studies that suggest humans need from 7.5 to 8.1 hours of sleep per night. It is my opinion athletes are better off on the more is better end of time sleeping.
Dr. Cheri Mah, of UCSF, took a look at what happens to athletes with they get more sleep. In her study, the subjects (college basketball players) were averaging 6.5 hours of sleep per night. They increased their sleep time to an average of 8.5 hours of sleep per night. (1)
By the end of the study the basketball players had increased their free throw percentage by 11.4% and their 3-point shooting by 13.7%. (2)
Image what you could do with an 11-13% improvement in you shooting.
I took about 8 months off from the gym. It was a matter of a move, getting settled and finding a convenient and moderately price facility. Now that we’ve landed in Georgia a gym membership and weight lifting program is off of my to do list and part of my weekly training.
Lifting weights is an important adjunct to any athlete. After the Master’s Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia Tiger Woods was interviewed. During that Tiger pointed out the work it has taken him to try and bring himself back into competitive professional golf. One of his comments referred to time spent in the gym.
In nearly every sport there is an avenue among the training regime that leads the athlete to a weight room. Archery is no exception. It is obvious that not all or even most archers spend time at a gym.
Spending time lifting weights can become an asset to you during long tournaments where the weight of a bow and the drawing of an arrow can become physically draining. Not only can the arms and shoulders benefit of weight lifting, but also your core and legs (support the shot) should be part of your conditioning program.
Tomorrow is there’s a Georgia ASA State Qualifier about 38 miles away. I’ll shoot that hoping to qualify for the State Championship. The past week or so I’ve been cranking out arrows concentrating on 3D. (I’m a little behind in that discipline.)
In addition to archery practice I maintain a rigorous overall fitness program. It’s part of my training for archery and just in case there’s a race I’d like to try. There is a duathlon nearby in August and I am considering it.
At a recent tournament I overheard a “Pro” archer talking about his training schedule. He said he shoots for two hours a day and adds running and weight lifting to his workouts. That is an excellent way to go.
Aside from archery I run nearly every morning. I ride a bike almost every afternoon and I’m in the gym at least two days a week. Unlike that young professional archer I can’t recover as fast as I did when I was in my 50’s, 40’s, 30’s 20’s and teens. So, today after running I practiced archery for just an hour. I consider that sort of practice active recovery.
This afternoon I’ll ride a bike, but it will not be as intense a ride as yesterday’s. I may fling a few more arrows, but for the sports part of my day I’ll take it easy and save some for tomorrow. Sunday is a nearly total break while we go fishing. (I’m still on the hook today for several hours of yard and range work.)
I have written about having a plan or routine when it comes to fitness and training. In all sports you can find specific plans or routines used to obtain a specific goal. You can buy training plans online and you can find them free of charge.
A good free fitness goal oriented program is available at Ontri.com. Plans are available for archery. One is available through FITA. In a basic sense both Ontri.net and FITA are good places to start. (1,2)
For individualized plans Ontri.net does a decent job of setting up a routine for an athlete to follow. The plans are based on goals and experience of the individual.
To become a better archer you should have a training plan. Build a routine of practice and training. I’ll provide samples soon. (I try to keep these posts fairly short. Otherwise, no one will read them.)
Routine is good for training and practice. Many of you focus on archery as your sole means of fitness training. You won’t get a lot of cardio using that approach. You may not want any cardio. Archery may be the only sport that you can find time to fit into your schedule. At least you’re out on a range walking about a mile a day. Well, you’re probably not getting in a mile of walking. You may be coming close.
It is good to have a routine for your training. In my routine I add running and cycling. If I cut out the running and riding I doubt I could get much more archery practice completed. I shoot several hours a day and physically that’s all I can handle.
For instance, yesterday I shoot 90 arrows in the morning. Thirty at 60 yards, thirty at 50 yards and thirty at 40 yards. That took an hour and forty-five minutes. During the afternoon I fired off another 60 arrows on the 3D range. I didn’t shoot at all my foam animals. Instead, I worked yardages and difficult shots.
By difficult I mean interesting. All shots are the same when it comes to difficulty. The interesting part was the complexity of judging yardage. Although I practice 3D often I have not competed in a 3D tournament since last summer. Soon I will compete in 3D and judging yardage is my greatest weakness.
Other than that I did run and ride my bike. Running is an early morning activity whereas I ride in the afternoon between 1 PM and 3 PM. The goal is to have a routine so that I can create training plans to fit a schedule. It is getting close and next week I’ll have specific training plans that agree with out recent move back to Georgia.
Routine and training don’t mean doing exactly the same thing over and over. Although, being able to do the same thing over and over is a requirement for archery. More about this later.
2018 has been a blur of activity. We moved to Georgia. We added more construction to the property in Georgia. I’ve cleared, mostly, about 3 acres for a 3D range. I’ve added a target range for 50 meters and out to 80 meters.
I also completed a USA Archery Level 2 Coaching program. Competed in four tournaments and weekly league style shooting. Plus, I bought a new bow.
The new bow is another Elite. This one is the 2018 Elite 37. To be honest, my scores are pretty much exactly what they were with the 2015 Elite 35. In the long run I think the 37 will be worth the investment.
Another benefit to being here is the running and cycling. I can run in my neighborhood but must to laps to get in any serious miles. There are excellent trails to run all within a short drive.
Cycling is the best. The terrain here near Athens, Georgia is rolling hills. Rolling hills are my favorite type of road. Flat gets boring. Too steep becomes more of fight to go up and then coast down. That was pretty much how I trained when we lived in Pittsburgh. That too got old. When we lived in Kennesaw, Georgia the roads were rolling hills. From my experience, rolling hills are the most fun for training.
I am yet to get a decent long-term training program going. Typically, I run, shoot, rest, ride and shoot. I’ve gotten that in a number of times but the past 12 weeks have been a challenge.
Years of planning and a bit of luck helped me retire at 57 from a typical job. When I retired I considered focusing on winning a major endurance event in my age group. Now, I’ve never won a lot of races. I had earned a spot on a USA World Championship Team for the Long Course Duathlon, which was pretty cool. I also got to compete in the Ironman World Championship on Kona, Hawaii. That is the Super Bowl of Triathlon.
But, I’d never won something like a marathon or a 140.6-mile Ironman. I’ve done a lot of 70.3 and 140.6 Ironman events, but I never finished among the top athletes. I did better at the shorter distance triathlons.
The sprint distances were where I did my best. See I not a great swimmer, I am a pretty okay runner, and a really decent cyclist. My plan for the shorter races was this: Swim well enough to finish the swim in the top 25%, pass everybody, the better swimmers, during the bike portion, hang on to my lead during the run. That worked for me a number of times. (There was often that athlete that is better at all 3 disciplines)
But, the more I thought about it I realized I’d never be a good enough swimmer to place well in the major events. Sure, I can swim. Sadly, while I can swim far, I will never be fast. It’s a matter of genetics and body type. (My best time for a 2.4-mile swim is 64 minutes) So, I put that out of my mind while relaxing in my front yard shooting a newly acquired compound bow a little more than four years ago. There is where the thought hit me; maybe I could do well in archery. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I can’t let go of endurance racing. I tried for a year to pedal around on a bike, jog every morning and swim at the YMCA. I stayed away from racing any distance. Essentially, my day is this:
Up between 0530 and 0600 , stretch
Eat breakfast, run one to six miles.
Shoot my bow for one to two hours.
Take a nap
Ride a bike ten to 30 miles
Shoot my bow one to two hours.
Often, one of the last things I do at the end of the day is take a walk through the woods with my dog, River.
It works out to from 4 to 6 hours a day of exercise and training.
In 2016 I ran a number of 5K races for fun. Each time a little more slowly than the previous race. These were for fun and I had not been training for speed. Still every day I think about racing. While planning my 2018 archery schedule I thought – why not add a duathlon. So, I did.
I’ll still train about the same amount of time only now I’ll add speed work. I’ve added a spring dualthon onto my calendar. I’ve got 5 months to get into shape. On top of that there are a number of significant archery tournaments where I’d like to perform well all occurring around the same time frame. Nothing gets me going like a good challenge.
I just finished a book. I don’t mean I just completed reading a book. Seriously, I wrote a book I plan to publish.
During the 45 years I spent in the medical field I had a hobby or sorts – aging. I published a few papers that dealt with aging and worked on methods to help prolong a vibrant life. It wasn’t my primary area of expertise. But, over the decades of reading and studying how we age and why there are differences in the aging process among individuals, all of which I find fascinating, I’ve piled up a lot of information.
I’d never planned on writing a book about aging but the idea popped into my head one afternoon and I had it outlined before I went to bed that night. Actually, I completed the first draft in about two weeks. The hard part is the editing.
It is really difficult to edit your own writing. If you’ve read many of my posts here you already know I am a failure when it come to editing my own work. Still, I need to edit the book a time or two before I beg for help from better writers or professional editors.
In the past I have used professional editors. Believe me, they truly have made everything I provided in need of help much better. All of those works were manuscripts. Easy work generally less than 2500 words. Books are longer and the one I just finished is no exception.
The book isn’t my first. It is my third. The first was on how to preform a medical physical exam and the second on neonatology. Both were written for industry and weren’t available for general purchase. My copies have long since disappeared along with the knowledge I once held that provided the insight into those two books.
This third one, once it is edited, is a labor of passion. Decades of reading medical journals, making observations, and drawing totally unsupported conclusions have gone into the words of this latest book. Now, it is just the misery of editing and I’ll see if it can be published or even self-published. I expect to earn tens of dollars from the effort.