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  • Dr. Russ Reinbolt

“LOAD MANAGEMENT”--Some random thoughts

Well just like that, the big race, The 2020 Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra, has come and gone. I attained a really high level of fitness training and preparing for it. Because I did not finish that beast of a race (very painfully, for the second year in a row,) I have an almost automatic mindset to keep training at this high level for next year’s race (yes, I’m probably going to go for it a third time!) or for whatever race comes next.

However, that’s just not realistic. And, there is really no point. I would not be able to sustain a high volume and high intensity for an entire year. Without question, I would break down both physically and mentally. It’s also essential that I rest my body and mind for a while otherwise I will burn out. We all must have downtime to provide balance.

Here comes the focus of this post: There is a term in professional sports called load management. So as to allow athletes to maintain a high level of competitiveness and to prolong their careers, teams limit the stress placed on players. Take the example of professional baseball pitchers. Early in their careers, they have what is called a pitch count. Even if the pitcher has a great game going, when he reaches a certain number pitches thrown, they pull him out and bring in a reliever. This is to reduce the chance of injury. If the pitcher reaches a certain number pitches in a season, they will shut him down for the year. Put another way, we all must pace ourselves.

This concept can be applied to athletes and non-athletes alike. Basically, one should not do anything that is unnecessary and just causes undue stress. Regarding myself, I do not plan on doing any ultra long training runs for several months. Also, I am eliminating what I call ”junk miles.” Every workout I do has a specific purpose. I won’t go out and run without that workout serving to maintain or increase my fitness level. Basically, I am managing my training load. As I get closer to my next big race, I will purposefully increase my load to make myself as strong mechanically and “cardiovascularly” as possible. That being said, I still go out once in a while to just run for fun because I enjoy running so much. Many training sessions are for pure pleasure and enjoyment, which is extremely important for mental well-being.

I also focus on eliminating waste and extra work, which can come in many forms. Sitting on a couch and watching a stupid TV show accomplishes nothing. It must be eliminated. Exposing oneself to unnecessary noise, stimulation and small talk provides no benefit to anyone. These are unnecessary “loads.”

Another silly example is carrying extra junk in the trunk of your car. (Sometimes I’ll pop the trunk and find all the chairs, coolers and umbrellas from my girls’ soccer weekend tournament held weeks ago for example.) This produces extra workload on the car and reduces gas mileage. So, take that extra stuff out.

Consider all the extra nonsense we have in our lives. We all have extra clothes that we buy and keep in our closets that we don’t wear. We get extra food that we don’t need and don’t eat (and end up throwing out.)

I often encounter friends, family and strangers with problems. And…I love helping others. But, many times, I’m unable to help them despite my best efforts. When I realize that, I stop worrying and simply move on. It may seem heartless, but if there’s nothing I can do, why bear an unnecessary burden? I often remind myself “don’t make other people’s problems my own.”

Think of all the extra “whatever” in our lives and how we can apply this to our bodies and minds as well.

Don’t waste your time or energy on anything unproductive, negative or unnecessary. Work on MANAGING YOUR LOAD. Your life will be better for it.

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