Monday, October 25, 2010

Conflicting Goals and some link love

A couple of my favorite karate - related podcasts have resurfaced.  Check out Karate Cafe, which was on hiatus for a few years but is back again.  Basically a bunch of guys talking about their martial arts practice.  Also one of my all time favorites, the Applied Karate Podcast, is back.  Check it out. 

If you want some more info on paleo eating, including recipes and tips, a great way to start is the Paleo Rodeo, a feature put on a wonderful Paleo blog.  It's a list of links to hot paleo-related posts from the previous week.  Bookmark Modern Paleo and check through the Rodeo every Friday.  I'll put the link in myself, periodically.

Now a little bit about goals.

Programming errors (in exercise selection, training frequency, or nutrition) are often the result of poor understanding of specificity of adaption, but are just as often (if not more) the result of a failure to properly organize one's goals.  The classic example of the first situation is someone who takes up jogging in order to get better endurance for sparring.  That's a physiology mistake - long slow cardio will do very little to improve our endurance for high intensity activity.  But what about someone who wants to be both a better karateka and a better runner?  Say, someone who enjoys both karate and running for their own sake?  A karateka who wants to be a half decent marathon runner?

I personally have a difficult time empathizing with anybody who runs any distance at all for pleasure, but I've met some of these crazies and they seem sincere.  Dealing with this situation requires a couple of steps:
  1. Recognize and accept that if you chase two dogs you don't catch either one.  If you try to be both an endurance and a power athlete (and make no mistake, karate is a power endeavor, karateka are power athletes) you will never reach your maximum potential in either one.  If you're gifted enough you may end up being above average in both, but you won't be your best in either.  Sorry.
  2. Remember that although the training for running and karate are different they tax the body in some overlapping ways.  You can't just add a hefty running schedule on top of your karate practice and expect to recover fine from both.  You'll need to abbreviate the training for both or periodize them.  Consider doing heavy running for a few months, then taper to a once or twice a week running schedule and really focus on your karate.  Switch every few months or even weeks.
  3. If you can prioritize your goals you can simplify your life. Maybe running (or karate) just aren't that important to you. Maybe you just want to do enough running to make it through a half marathon once a year, or just enough karate to maintain some upper body strength.  That would be more manageable.
  4. Stay honest and transparent with yourself about what you're doing and why.   Don't try to justify either practice in terms of the other - your karate isn't really helping your running and your running isn't really helping your karate, unless your training for one of those disciplines really, really sucks.  You are doing both because you want to and that's okay.  Be who you are.
If you're lucky you'll have different goals that don't compete.  For example, I'm a little vain, and I want to be good at karate.  That works out well - training and eating to be better at karate happen to also be a pretty good way to look better.  If I was dedicated to high level sumo competition I might have a problem.  If my vanity was a higher priority than my karate I'd probably train a little differently, but not by a huge amount (you can imagine how - I'd do more sets for arms, more for abs, and spend more time posing in front of a mirror).

Be clear about what you want, then smart about how you go about getting it.  It's fantastically simple advice and something suprisingly few people manage to do well. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joe, thanks for the link love. I'm looking forward to getting the new show out soon, and will keep you posted. I'd like to have you as a guest soon, so watch out!