The Slow Burn

Reflecting on my training this past week, initially I felt like it was particularly unremarkable. But then I caught myself. I realized that this week, I completed all but two of my little checks, including the ever difficult-for-me back kick; PRed on my mile time while simultaneously exceeding the minimum requirement of 8 minutes for the first time; sparred an awesome but tough third-degree black belt candidate for 3 minutes for my live sparring round; and finished strong at the toughest conditioning workout of the black belt test to date, the first Mackay Stadium workout. Since when did these sorts of accomplishments start to feel like just another day at the dojo??

The Importance of Rest and Recovery During Training

Last week was rough. I was physically and mentally all kitty-whack. On at least two separate occasions, I put my shirt on backwards. My max reps in my conditioning log were at all-time lows. I downright stank at checklisting pretty much every time I tried. I managed not to cry on the mat, but that’s not to say I didn’t shed a tear or two of exhausted frustration over a paloma at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Thank goodness I had a long holiday weekend to recover a little!

Enter the SMART Goals

Beyond The Mat Lesson Two is all about designing achievable goals. If you’ve attended a college class, read a self-improvement book, or heck, paged through a women’s health magazine, you probably know all about S.M.A.R.T. goals. But as G.I. Joe always said, knowing is only half the battle. This week in my journey to black belt, I realize that my goal setting kind of sucks.

The Pursuit of Mastery

An integral requirement for the first half of the black belt test, there are 111 different techniques, combos and rounds in which candidates must exhibit proficiency. If you perform the technique correctly (and with gusto!), you check that technique off the list — thus, the term “checklisting.” Over the past three years, I’ve watched many friends endure the frustration and panic of failing one or more checks over and over. But is it really a failure, or is it, as TED speaker Sarah Lewis might say, the gift of a near win?

How Not to Train for a Marathon

The Big Sur International Marathon has come and gone, and I remain a 26.2 virgin. Nobody ever said “first time’s a charm,” so I’m taking the past six months as a learning experience. The Theory I can’t be too upset, because I didn’t follow a standard marathon training plan. Back in December, I recalled how cross-training maintained my ability to run 10K early in 2010. All I knew is that I wanted to include cross-training, but I had a really hectic schedule. Since the long run rules as arguably the most important aspect of a distance training program, I thought…
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