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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

April 10, 2012

Train...don't break.

I'm still reflecting on Dennis Summer's The 4th Gear.  In the greater sense not applicable to me, my horse, or our journey.  Right?  Well---wrong?  My first read through the short book was "these people are so advanced that none of this will work for me."  Why?  Because I'm a weanie.     How can it work for me?  By following my coach's concept of pushing my little mare up to a higher level.   Before anyone says THERE SHE GOES  Not that kind of higher level.   Are we in 4th Gear?  No.  We are barely out of 1st gear.  Are we heading for 4th gear?  No, we are barely out of 1st gear, and I don't want to strip the gears by jamming it into 4th.  But 2nd would be an awesomely exciting step, wouldn't it?  Though the article was not a beginner's how to, there are some very solid concepts that apply to any of us.  The basic primer being push harder (a little at a time).  Separate your conditioning sessions into four distinct areas of ( an easy work out, a little bit harder sustained workout in the aerobic range, a little bit harder than before long distance ride at a (=) competiton pace, and much harder intervals(+) of short duration, gradually increasing over time, always above competition pace).  Rinse, and repeat. 4 sessions per week.   Journey has been doing easy & sustained on target.  She has not been doing long at a fast enough pace until last week, and she has only begun intervals which indeed pushed her throttle up to the magic 5 mph.  We have a lot of wiggle room to improve her performance safely.

So what would be my Endurance for Dummies approach to this riding at a higher level stuff?
  • Don't get to big for your riding tights on your beginner horse.
  • Stay a beginner for at least a full year, maybe two.
  • Use these concepts at a level that  constantly....though slightly exceeds your horse's current abilities.
  • Every horse is different...cookie cutter plain won't work.  There is no "magic" formula. 
  • Keep in mind that "I am a weanie."  I have to get past my own personal barriers.  Confidence (Phebes and certain people sure hammered that, though after consulting with someone who does know their stuff, I feel much more hopeful and confident), Financial (I'm never gonna run with big dogs, the mid-dogs, or any kind of dogs except the back of the pack on a part-time basis).  I don't earn enough to actually play the game as many take for granted.  I just do what I can do.
  • All of that is okay.

Reading this book for the second time (in print) has helped me to pick out many, many points of interest.  One or two I will have to defer to my coach at some point for an intellectual discussion concerning how best to use these tools at Journey's level and to Journey's benefit so that we train...but don't break the positive cycle we have going.  What little we have done lately has proved helpful in bringing a 4.3 mph ride average up to a 5 mph ride average.  I'd like to tweak her training average slowly upward to around 7-8 mph average, to actually compete at about 5.5-6 mph.  Based on the precepts of this book where do we start?  Right where we are, at 5 mph.  You say what?  I've been on the right track so far.  Little, by little, by little....I have to push that number upwards, keep her sane, and rated.  Back of the pack (I hope) here we come.

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