This weekend I rode my son around the lake in his bike trailer. After about six minutes of hard pedaling, I would feel tired and coast for a few minutes. My son doesn’t like it when I rest. He wants to go fast and whenever he catches me resting he squeaks at me from his trailer to “do it!”
The phrase “just desserts” comes to mind.
Anyway, feeling tired after six minutes is not impressive. What’s wrong with me?
Well, since August 21 I’ve been training for my last jiu-jitsu tournament of the year. In my division a match lasts six minutes, so a big part of my preparation is to optimize power output within a six minute time domain. I also need to win at least three matches to make it to a medal round, so for weeks I’ve been doing multiple, intense six-minute workouts with about four minutes of rest in between.
My go-to workout is a circuit consisting of a hands-only rope climb, three 32″ box jumps, and ten 30# ball slams. I also do a couplet of burpees and tire flips. But always within that six minute time box.
Since August 21 I haven’t done anything else. I don’t lift heavy weights because I don’t want to gain muscle mass which won’t be functional in jiu jitsu competition. I don’t even run, because I want to be as fresh as possible when I’m on the mat.
On Saturday I finished my last conditioning workout and I’m now in my taper week. If nothing else, I am definitely prepared for competition; for six minutes I’m a holy frickin terror. But in minute seven the golden carriage turns into a pumpkin and I’m weak as a baby. So much for general physical preparedness.
This is the problem with specialization. You can’t get too good at one thing without starting to stink at everything else.
Nevertheless, a long, specialized training camp is a good thing to do every once in a while. Even though your general fitness will suffer, the emotional discipline and follow-through you develop when you’re training for something specific is difficult to duplicate in a truly randomized environment.
But for the balance of the year, you want to be ready for anything. Do it!