Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Holistic approach to Training.

This is nothing new but I am going to restate it for myself. When I was a young track cyclist I had this holistic approach. I was unaware of any others employing my methods at that time. I had Reginald Hargreaves Harris, World sprint Champion as my role model though I don't think he even did the things I did. or I did the things he did. He smoked a pipe for instance and maybe I thought momentarily that I should as well. Lucky I didn't.He did long cycle rides wearing plus fours. I really wanted to do that but couldn't find any. Well seriously I followed him in spirit anyway.

Health for me was based on proper diet adequate sleep and rest, exercise and the a absent of harmful substances and polluted air. My training was also different from others. I believed in cross training though I hadn't a name for it.

My diet as far as possible was a good mixture of fats protein and carbohydrates from natural sources. Brown sugar and honey for sweeteners, brown bread, unrefined maize meal and oats and mabela porridge (sorgum)for breakfast with bacon and eggs or scrambled eggs. Breakfast being a most important meal. I drank stacks of milk and maas or amasi in Zulu (sour milk).

I used to get upset in a hall when people smoked and fouled the air. This was when smoking was in vogue and cool for sportsmen.I was also a teetotler, and for all practical purposes still am. Weight Training. I bought a set of weights soon after I left school, with a total weight of about 120 lbs.I practised the bench press and a few other exercises with them. I did this for upper body strength which I considered important for a sprinter.I'm still using the same weights bought 65 years ago.

On some evenings we would all meet at the track for training. We had no coaches so just played it by ear and learned from each other. We would warm up and then do a few laps with sprints in between. This was the same as interval training but we didn't have a name for it. At the week ends I would go for my long rides, many times up to 180 ks, cycling down to Durban from Pietermaritzburg and back on the same day and visiting a girlfriend and going for a swim in the sea. I worked in the bank not too far from the track . We had a long lunch break of one and a quarter hours so I would often take my bike to the track and do a short training spell. Another thing I did which other cyclists didn't do was to run a few laps after our training session. Our track wheels had fixed wheel cogs on each side, so I put a large one on the one side and would swap the wheel around after our track training. There was a very steep street adjacent to the track of about one hundred metres long. I would ride up as hard as I could and come down slowly. I repeated this a few times before going home.I always believed in as much rest as possible, by lying down rather than sitting or standing if at all possible.

At that time of my life I chose not to race on Sunday. It was my choice but never-the-less there was peer pressure from other young people in the church.In this day and age I would not have made the same stand. It interfered with my cycling career a great deal because there were so few meeting that I could ride in so didn't gain the track experience that I should have. I also never gained the fitness edge from racing as my meetings were so few and far between. Nevertheless I won the Natal quarter mile championship and a bronze in the 1000 Metre match sprint in the South African championships as well as a silver in the 2000 metre tandem with Mike Leppan. I had my mind set on the 1956 Olympics. In the end I had to choose between getting a science degree at University and the possible chance of going to the Olympics.

With this experience I'm trying to repeat what worked for me looking at my whole life and that is why I have planned the cycle route on roads that have little traffic and I can use it for different length training rides. At my age improvement is nigh impossible but at least I can try.I just don't know where this is all going.

That is how I used to travel with my track bike.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home