Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lost in Transition

     Where do endurance athletes go "mentally" while spending hour after hour performing the same monotonous task? Me personally, I like to dedicate about 65% of my cognitive functions to getting lost in the rhythm of foot strikes and heavy breathing. Each pace creates its own melody and I can usually tell how fast I'm running just by my breathing and foot strike patterns.

     The other 36% varies, but is quite often working on a blog entry. Like today, I was thinking about how much time I spend transitioning when I do my bricks or other combo workouts. Then it occurred to me, "Lost In Transition", that would make a great title for a blog post! The first sentence could read..."Have you ever been so exhausted that you got lost in transition? If so, then your probably a triathlete." Ultimately I decided against that, but wanted to throw it in the post somewhere, so there it is.

     Anyway, this post is just my attempt to clarify for my own sake some terminology that I may use from time to time concerning transition types with an emphasis on speed, metabolism and nutrition. I have decided to use 5 different terms, rapid transition, extended transition, recovery based transition, partial recovery transition and full recovery transition.

     It will still be possible that a unique transition type might pop up and fit part of one definition and part of another, and in those instances TIME will be the determining factor. But the BIG question is "Do I have maybe TOO much time on my hands to be writing this at all?" and the answer will have to be "Yes, but I just biked 10 miles, ran 12 and then biked 10 more all in under 3 1/2 hours, so the sedentary nature of blogging is like a recovery activity to me and really it just spews off the top of my head most the time, hardly taking any significant time at all."

     Oh right, transitions. I'll start with:

Rapid Transition: Characterized by at or near race pace (for simplicity I'll call it as less than 5 minutes), no significant drop in breathing or heart rate and definitely no food, but allowing time for a swallow or 2 of water.

Extended Transition: Lasting 5-15 minutes, allows plenty of time to catch my breath and a noticeable drop in my heart rate, food and water are consumed in a hurried manner.

Recovery Based Transition: Lasts 15-30 minutes, breathing and heart rate return to normal or may be slightly elevated, a fast meal usually accompanied by a prolonged period of sitting or relaxing is typical.

Partial Recovery Transition: Last 30-60 minutes, breathing and heart rate return to normal, a leisurely meal is consumed and significant rest allowing time for digestion to take place.

Full Recovery Transition: Lasts 60-90 minutes, breathing returns to normal, a leisurely meal is consumed, rest time allows for both digestion and some muscular recovery.

     Any transition that takes more than 90 minutes will not be called a transition, but will instead be referred to as a separate workout for the purposes of this blog.

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