News Letter Mid-Summer 2012
 
Wow, what a stonking summer we are having.... obviously I'm not talking about the weather, but rather our sporting success!
 
Bradley W and Mark C both doing well in Le Tour and now Team GB in the Olympics. We've also had some great results from members of FTC across all distances, Sprint, Olympic, Half & Full IM...... and even Deca IM!!
 
If you've read any of my (not so regular!) News Letters, you will know that I'm very passionate about training, and in particular I get VERY excited about Strength & Conditioning, all things Core, as well as Recovery and Injury Prevention. Watching the Olympics has been great, not only to see the athletes perform but also the commentary & interviews where we get some insight into the athletes' training regimes.
A few days ago there was an interview with Roger Federer and later with Michael Johnson where they both mentioned "Emotional Fatigue" and how this might hinder an athletes performance.
As soon as I saw this, I thought, what a great topic for my next  News Letter!
 
So, Emotional Fatigue.... what's that all about?
 
This is part of a concept that views human performance as the result of four "energies", Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. Optimum performance can only be achieved if there is enough resource, harmony and balance across all four. Personally I am not keen to use the term "energies" as it suggests something tangiable, so maybe its better to view them as drivers. Each driver needs to be managed and well maintained if they are to not hinder overall performance, in fact, all aspects of training & recovery can be applied to each of the four elements.
 
As a sportsperson its easy to understand physical fitness or even mental toughness, but it all gets rather vague for the spiritual and emotional qualities. I tend to view them in terms of - values/purpose/commitment/self-sacrifice and confidence/esteem/passion/excitement, respectively, but I guess its different for each and everyone of us.
Emotional fatigue is very relevant for multi-event or multi-discipline sports, where the elation and excitement of early-event success can distract, hinder or even deplete the focus required in later activities.
In the interview with Roger Federer, there was suggestion that his excitement of earlier victories (not necessarily his own) had left him emotionally depleted, thus putting his four drivers out of balance.
 
This model of performance is just one of several that are very useful in helping us manage our lives in a safe and effective way.
Anyone who is regularly training and/or competing will be prone to "over-doing it" and its often useful to have several models in mind.... no guys, not the tall, leggy type of super-model, but models of performance that can help us stay sharp, avoid over-training and prevent injury.
 
What is important is to always consider the bigger picture and to be aware that every aspect of your life will impact [in some way] on these four drivers and hence will affect your sporting performance. Bear this in mind when putting together your long-term training plan as well as preparing for a race day. For example, as a financial accountant its quite likely you'll be more stressed at year-end, likewise, if your day job is physically demanding, dont expect too much from a strength training regime. Also, a stressfull drive to a race venue can leave you mentally drained and emotionally in tatters.

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Happy racing!

Colin

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