This series on peak performance in sports and life will highlight ways you can utilize the water environment in bringing your best effort to the task at hand. Preparation begins long before the competition. If you want to arrive at your event with mind and body ready for optimal performance, you must take charge of the preparation process.
Dr. Scott Pengelly, PhD, a pioneer in sports psychology whose work dates back to the 1976 Olympics, has played a key role in athletes achieving success as well as failure. He advocates that you “know your body and listen to what it tells you”. Dr. Pengelly warns that a primary adversary will be what he refers to as “laws of human behavior”. 1) The Body always wins. 2) The Body never lies (although we suspect it does, especially when we don’t want to hear about it, and 3) an exception will be made in my case. (In fact, I am so confident this will happen, I have already made other plans). Do you see any of yourself in this observation?
Motivated athletes face the challenge of surviving their training schedule. Paying close attention to feedback from the body can signal an injury or system overload which will lead to overtraining and produce negative returns. Explore ways you can take the impact out of the training process by including a water running component into your training schedule. Tips on how to do this are available as a free downloadable PDF water running handbook. The DVD, Take It to the Water goes into even more detail on this process and provides information that can help you get the most out of your conditioning program and reduce injuries.
Unfortunately some of the most debilitating injuries, such as stress fractures and joint injuries, often don’t send out a very loud signal before they fail. Dr. Stan James, M.D., a world renowned specialist in sports related orthopedic surgery, recommends that you adjust your training schedule to take into consideration the fact that the skeletal system and its connectors are one of the slowest adjustments of the training process. Most athletes outrun the skeletal recovery rate and pay the price. “Training errors” keep surgeons, like Dr. James, in business. He recommends athletes “train smart” and consider “the least amount of training that maximizes conditioning results” as opposed