Occasionally, it is nice to switch up training schedules. Over the past week I’ve made some alterations in my training plans. So far, it seems like a nice change.
Prior to the change my training went like this: run/archery mornings, cycling/archery afternoons. Essentially this was it without the detail. Last week I changed to: Run/cycling morning, archery afternoons. Still without the details.
So far it has been fun. It is like doing 2/3 of a duathlon. That got me thinking about doing a duathlon. If I could find one that started at 0900 that was nearby I’d probably enter. I did find one that nearby that started at 0700. Transition and packet pick-up opened at 0500 on race day. Transition closed at 0630. Start of the race is at 0700.
Even a local event with these start times means getting out of bed at 0430 to prepare to race. I can do it; I’ve done it countless times. But, do I want to do it again?
One really nice thing about archery is the start times. Local events start during humane hours. It is one of my favorite things about archery. You can’t start too early for outdoor events because you can’t see the targets. A built in cushion for decent start times.
Over decades I did get up at those puke of dawn hours to race. I miss the racing; I do not miss the early mornings. Even training meant my typical wake up time of 0530 including the weekends.
I will say I do get out to run nearly every morning by 0800. Now with the added cycling that follows I won’t finish until 1030. For two and a half hours I admit it is really nice. Knock several hours off that 0800 run time and it becomes less appealing.
The afternoon archery exclusive is also nice. I can shoot without thinking about cycling. So far, a pretty nice switch.
We were at pizza joint with a group of my wife’s friends. They’re mostly her friends from yoga. Yoga folks are pretty cool and I enjoy hanging out with them. As a rule they are all fit and health conscious. It never fails that one or two of them quiz me on the subject of my less passionate view of yoga. I don’t do yoga, but I stretch every morning for about half an hour plus or minus a few minutes here and there.
Mixed in with the purest yoga students there are runners who practice yoga. While I never bring up the subject of running many of them know that I run or at least have completed many somewhat difficult runs. (Brenda told them) They are all younger and will at times ask for advice. (Often the advice relates to a medical concern. Brenda also told them of me medical background.)
Sooner to later, like the yoga inquiry, I get quizzed about my running, which is only about 2 miles a day. That’s enough for me for the moment.
When I mention 2 miles a day jaws may pop open as if I’ve uttered a severely unacceptable comment or committed some sacrilege. One fellow asked me if I missed it referring to running longer distances. I said no, plainly and simply I don’t miss running long solo miles. If I keep the mileage at three or less per run River, my nearly 9-year-old lab, is happy to run along with me. Beyond 3 miles and she gets bored. At two miles she’s happy and I have company while running.
Another inquisitor asked me if I missed triathlons. (Brenda, again) He’s training for a triathlon. He’s heard I have completed lots of them. As with running, “Nope,” I answered. When I said “Nope” the yoga runners and yoga triathletes looked at me with saddened eyes as if I had nothing to live for.
“Look,” I said to the small audience watching to see if I was going to die on the spot, “I do a lot of exercise.” I added, “ I stretch every morning, which is a lot like your yoga. A number of the stretches are actually yoga moves.” The audience appear unimpressed.
Then, I pointed out that indeed I run only 2 miles a day. I also ride a bike by time rather than distance or some combination of time and distance everyday for an hour to 90 minutes. So, I pointed out I get a lot of exercise. The additional cycling seemed to satisfy many that I was doing the correct amount of physical fitness training.
I was going to mention that those exercise intervals are warm-ups sessions only. That the 2 to 3 hours per day doing those workouts are, in fact, not my primary sport. Further I didn’t mention that I head to the gym once or twice per week. All of which are secondary activities to the 2 to 5 hours per day of archery practice. It seemed to me, that in the setting of the conversation, bringing to light the nearly 8-hour day of work to be a decent archer would have been wasted breath.
Everyone around Brenda and I eating pizza was a lot younger. The top end age, outside of Brenda and I, was probably upper 30s to at most 42 years old. The majority of those in attendance were younger than our children. They all workout several times per week at yoga and a few do train to run or work toward completing an international distance triathlon. Most of them have jobs, not all, so working out or training much more than they’re doing takes a certain frame of mind. The question becomes what it is you want and what are you willing to give up to get it.
What I learned is that what time most of them put toward exercise and fitness max’ed out at around 14 hours per week. That’s good and overall for most people a lot of exercise. None of them is working toward any specific sport goal beyond a completion of some target event.
“I’m training to do a triathlon,” or “I’m training to run a 5K,” are great goals and eventual achievements. There is, however, a difference when your goals include breaking records, winning titles and championships, or being ranked top in the world. This difference in the meaning for the exercise or training in no way implies one set of priorities is more important than the other. There’s just a difference.
If you read posting on this sight you know that I am keen on health and fitness. Everyday I do some form, often multiple forms, of exercise. For example, aside from archery practice today, I stretched, ran, and did a time-trial on a bicycle. It’s that time-trial that flopped.
Now, I did get through the course I’d planned. The idea was to break a prior personal best on the 11.7-mile course. No, 11.7 miles isn’t a long ride. It is the course that makes it tough.
For the first 3.6 miles the ride is all uphill. Then, it levels, dips a little, and climbs some more. The backside has a steep short downhill, then a gradual climb for the next several miles. The final 2 miles intersects with the start of the course. It is hard and I’ve been trying to break 30-minutes on the ride.
The plan was to use a triathlon bike. On an easier try the day before I’d done the course in 32 minutes using a tri-bike. There was, along with the climbing, a heavy wind. Usually, I’m on a road bike, the tri-bike using a tucked position helped in the wind. Without much effort I’d come close to the 30-minute time.
When I picked up that Cannondale Slice tri-bike today the rear tire was flat. Perfect. I grabbed a road bike and planned to go for it anyway.
Let me say, I’m no meteorologist, but it seems unlikely that there can be a headwind at every turn and in every direction. Yet, today it happened. As hard as I pushed the wind pushed harder.
At 8 miles I thought there’d be a chance. I thought I’d get out of the headwind and have a tailwind. I was wrong. I didn’t get that sub-thirty minutes.
In a recent paper sport champions and athletes were asked what they thought it took to become a champion. The group had a large sub-set of Olympians (medal winners and participants), world Champions, State and Regional Champions as well as a sub-set of “chronic” athletes that had, at the time of the survey, not earned a Championship. The group had spent a significant portion of the lives competing and training. This of course makes sense because achieving a sport level of performance to reach a major championship takes years of preparation.1
The group seemed in general especially bright mentally as noted by their responses to the survey. This wasn’t too surprising because the mean of the group is 53.8 years with a range of 26 to 78 years of age.1Nevertheless; there was an air of vitality among these athletes.
The survey was not done face-to-face with the athletes. However, a large percentage of the athletes were seen face-to-face as part of typical social interactions. In addition, after the survey a number of the athletes felt compelled to discuss the work by phone. At times one or more of them were present at different gatherings. Among those surveyed there remained a competitive presence as well as a high degree of verbal and body language mild posturing that could be considered friendly yet slightly aggressive regardless of age. The overall impression a bystander might of noted is that these people appeared extremely healthy and engaged. Certainly, the group is physically fit regardless of age.
An important observation is the general health of the group. At a mean age of nearly 54 they are generally not overweight. A few are overweight. An archer is obese (but currently on a strict diet to drop the weight), there’s an overweight ex-football lineman (thought not obese) and in that category there is a PGA golf pro, and one ex-major league pitcher who are heavier than during their playing days. In general, the group was not overweight. This may be attributed to; overall the group continues to exercise to a large degree.
Exercise is a relatively easy why to remain in good health both mentally and physically. 2,3As we age we can hope to die young at a very old age. In that vein exercise can be an adjunct to prolonged health and mental compacity.4Aside from clearly obvious physical attributes associated with aging and exercise, exercise decreases the degradation of our brains.5
Being physically active isn’t the sole method to engage our brains as we age. One study showed that individuals who played chess were cognitively engaged and had better health than a control group.6The same study, which compared the chess players to master level track and field athletes, revealed the athletes had more injuries than the chess players.6For those injuries the athletes gained a lower prevalence of chronic disease.6However, the chess players and athletes had a lower incidence of chronic disease compared to a control group.6
As we age, exercise can be modified to account for slower recovery times.7, 8Even with modification exercise among the senior population can improve quality of life and independent living.9As a measure of successful aging, exercising among the older population may be a model to support concepts of best health over longer durations as exercise works to protect the body including the brain.10, 11
Through active engagement in sport and exercise we can prolong better physical health and mental health. This becomes clear to an observer in the presence of chronic athletes.11By adding a regime of exercise to activities of daily living we can improve our quality of life.9
Lain,D C; What it takes to be a Champion.In review, NFAA Publication, Archery, Nov. 2018
Patelia S, Stone RC,El-Bakri R, Adli M,Baker J.: Masters or pawns? Examining injury and chronic disease in male Master Athletes and chess players compared to population norms from the Canadian Community Health Survery. Eur Rev Aging Phys Act. 2018 Nov 30;15:15. doi: 10.1186/s11556-018-0204-z. eCollection 2018.
Lately, most of my running has been done in the dark. I am usually cruising through the woods before sunrise. That may change when we switch to daylight saving time.
I like running trails in the dark. I like running trails in the light. Either way, trail running is more appealing to me than pounding pavement.
There are a few things to do when running in the dark that are less significant issues when running over trails in the daylight. You need to be aware of how you plant your feet. You need to lift and plant a bit more slowly. Otherwise, you could snag a foot and trip. If the trail is tight don’t run into a tree. You aren’t big enough or fast enough to run through a tree. You are not The Flash. Trees will stop you.
Wear glasses with clear lenses so you don’t poke an eye out on a low limb. You should have a good outdoor bearing for direction. Trails coming and going don’t always look the same in the dark. Have a good headlamp and fresh batteries. Bring a spare flashlight just in case.
During hunting season light yourself up. More than one light isn’t a bad idea. If you are running with a dog, put a red light on her collar. Try to run where you know no one is hunting. You don’t want to get shot because some idiot thought your dog’s red light was Rudolph’s red nose.
If you are a hunter or 3D archer running though the woods is another way to enjoy the outdoors without a bow in your hand. It is also a good method for getting you archery fitness on track.
Nearly anyone can pick up a bow practice and get to be pretty good.
At your next tournament look around at the competitors. They’ll look a lot like the spectators. You see folks that look; by look I mean phenotype, sort of like everyone else.
Everybody else means this for the US: Males weight on average 196 pounds and are 5 feet 9 inches tall. Females weight 168.5 pounds and are 5 feet 4 inches tall. That pretty close to how archers look in general.
Certainly, this isn’t everyone that picks up a bow. These are averages. My friend, Mike, is 6 feet 8 inches tall and weights 180 pounds. Mike is an outlier.
Consider the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the average US male and female using the numbers from above. You’d see both coming in as overweight.
Being overweight is, well, not good. But, archery is a sport where overall conditioning is often neglected. In fact, during a recent tournament when archers needed to move large outdoor targets a number of athletes couldn’t help because of their fitness level. One person said, “I can’t help, my doctor has told me not to lift more that 10 pounds.” Yet, there he was shooting and doing a pretty decent job of arrow placement. (Good not great)
Archery is a sport where fitness isn’t a key factor for the average shooter. Just about anyone that wants to enjoy a sport that isn’t a major cardio activity can have fun with a bow and arrow. That’s fine. That’s not my philosophy when it comes to athletics.
When it comes to archery training I think athletes in this sport should incorporate fitness training. No, it is not a requirement to be a good shooter. However, taking your training to a higher level will provide strength and stamina to archery performance.
Each week I look over training plans. These cover the daily, weekly and monthly practice sessions. The plans are arranged around tournaments. Those tournaments are graded as A, B, or C events.
‘A’ events are the major tournaments such as a State, National or World Championship. ‘B’ are typically local tournaments where I want to do well but leave some room to try new things and make adjustments. The ‘C’ events are mostly league shoots where I want to do well but may not have exactly what I need to provide the best score.
During a ‘C’ event, such as indoor league, I might compete with outdoor arrows rather than the wider indoor arrows. In these events I focus on applying skills yet to be mastered that I worked on during the day at home.
The archery training plans I follow have blocked time everyday for fitness. Each morning there is a stretching routine followed by running before I pick up a bow. In the afternoon, before shooting I ride a bicycle. On one to two days a week, depending on the training cycle there is time allocated for lifting weights.
Nearly everyday includes a morning and afternoon archery practice. On days when there is an evening league shoot I might shorten the afternoon practice allowing for the additional time spent on the range at night.
The training plans are associated with specific goals. Improving, as an archer is best accomplished with exact plans in play for each practice. Incorporating general fitness is an important adjunct to being a complete athlete – even for archers. By following written training plan archers can increase the likelihood of accomplishing their goals.
The weather was great, today. Sunny with very little wind and not too cold. It was a good day to train.
For the 2018 Duathlon National Championships I’m using a modified triathlon training plan. There’s no swimming in a duathlon so those workouts are replaced with more running. It’s no big deal since running is a daily activity pretty much regardless of a formal training plan. In other words, I’m not running too much. This is a modified plan that I’m following so there is flexibility.
There are lots of sport training plans available for purchase. There are an ever-growing number of coaches for hire through the Internet. What they offer are programs available to you sight unseen. Perhaps, if you are new to a sport an online coach you never see can provide a starting point. After decades of sports, in my opinion a face-to-face coach is a better investment. I’m making no investment. I took a plan I’d created years ago and adapted it for the upcoming race.
I’ve had some great coaches in cycling, football, and track. I’ve also spent decades studying sports physiology and feel fairly confident I can put together a plan that will get me across a finish line. Of course, there are the hours of work that need to be completed and today was ideal to add to those hours.
In an abridged overview my general training goes like this: Run, shoot, rest, shoot, cycle, and sometimes run again. It was hard not to do a second run today, the weather being so nice. It was the archery practice that pushed me away from a second run.
The second practice with a bow was going just fine. Well, good enough for second practice. That session was planned for 60 arrows at a 3-spot followed by 30 at a 5-spot. The morning was just 60 arrows into a 3-spot.
The afternoon 3-spot when okay with 32 Xs and 28 nines. Sure, Reo Wilde doesn’t need to be worried for the moment. But, not too bad. Then, I put up a 5-spot.
Man, those X rings looked huge on that blue and white paper. I shot 10 arrows and called it a day. As big as the X is on a 5-spot I was doing good to hit white. It was time to stop. While I didn’t feel tired, my arrow placement suggested otherwise. It also indicated I’d had enough exercise for the day, so not second run. Instead, a hike in the woods was perfect to wind things down.
Tomorrow the weather isn’t going to be so nice. I’ll have to go into Elizabeth City to shoot. I’m glad there is an indoor range within a 40-minute drive. Still, I am looking forward to moving to Georgia where on days like tomorrow promises to be, that drive becomes 15-minutes.
Before archery practice I run then I ride. Running is as much for River, my lab, as for me. She really seems to enjoy it and acts eager to go every morning. When we get home from the run I head out for a bike ride. Not hard, not too far – between 10 and 25 miles. Then, I’ll head out to the range for archery.
I own several bikes and I rotate them for rides. The past few weeks I’ve been using either a Litespeed road bike or Cannondale mountain bike. Neither bike is new. The Litespeed is 21 years old. The Cannondale is twelve. Both are in excellent condition.
The Litespeed is one of my favorite machines. The only original component on the frame is the front derailleur. The frame, titanium, feels amazing.
Part of the training I do is for fitness. One day I may decide to do more triathlons, mountain bike racing or cycling time trials. Or maybe not. Either way, I believe being fit provides an advantage for me in archery.
Certainly, I’ve shot against a lot of archers that I would say aren’t physically fit. There are a lot of good shooters that aren’t what I’d consider healthy. At least they’re doing something beyond watching television or playing video games. And many of them can really shoot a bow.
For me, I prefer being in better health. I don’t mind running or cycling. Of course, I swim –just not very fast.
I often write about stuff I do outside. That’s because I am outside a lot. We have a nice home but not so great as to keep me indoors. Outside, for me is where the action is.
I find it amazing when I look at the activities of others how it is that so much of those actions involve indoor play. The play is not so much the physical type unless finger movements are considered exercise. Playing a video game while sitting on a couch is not my idea of sport.
In the newspaper today there was an advertisement for a bed. The bed could be elevated at the head and the knees could be propped up. The newspaper ad promoted this comfortable position for binge television watching. A bed specifically marketed for people to remain in it for extended TV show viewing. Seriously?
How did the bed company come up with this market segment? Did information gained from intensive focus group questioning reveal a significant segment of their potential customers are so lazy they’d rather not bother getting out of bed to watch TV?
It is no wonder that 2 out of 3 US adults are overweight or obese. Among children ages 6 to 19 one third are overweight or obese. (1,2)
Archery isn’t what I’d call a sport where cardiovascular fitness is rampant. Still, rather than sitting around for hours on end getting to a range an hour of more a day is a lot better than spending the same amount of time exercising fingers or watching TV.
 Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Ogden CL. Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999–2010. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2012; 307(5):491–97. Available online: jama.jamanetwork.com/
 Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999–2010. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2012; 307(5):483–90. Available online: jama.jamanetwork.com/