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Antidotes to Agonism

November 14, 2012

I often like to prescribe longer, rest-interval based workouts to act as an “antidote” to what one of my mentors, Bob Mattson, used to describe as “agonistic training”.  When Bob used this term, it was, to my recollection, referring to the “pace-based” school of training – version #3 of the definitions below from Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agonistic):

1: of or relating to the athletic contests of ancient Greece
3: striving for effect : strained
4: of, relating to, or being aggressive or defensive social interaction (as fighting, fleeing, or submitting) between individuals usually of the same species

In other words, to the practice of having ones eyes on the clock continually, striving for a certain “pace” or “goal”.  Bob preferred a more free-wheeling approach to practice paces, where one would find their own level by simply alternating large volumes of work and prescribed rest.  It is interesting to me that the majority of coaches that I encounter prefer the “agonistic model”.That is, our perception of “right training” is such that we emphasize zones over feel — but that which eludes many of us in performance is the ability to “flip the switch”, placing ourselves into our groove (or as a friend of mine calls it, our “zone of tranquility”).

Ourt recent work has been very pace-centric, or perhaps “agonsitic”.  So, here it is, the antidote to agonistic training – yet another spin-off of the Mattson Mind-Grinder.  This one was brought to us by Bob’s son Eric Mattson, years ago, and is one of my favourites.

WARMUP
Swimmers Choice: Mix pulling, kicking, and swimming

MAIN SET (@5:45 AM) – 9 x 500
#1 – by 25s on :05 REST
#2 – alt. 50 / 25 on :10 REST
#3 – by 50s on :10 REST
#4 – alt 75 / 50 on :10 REST
#5 – STRAIGHT – :30 REST BEFORE & AFTER
#6 – alt 75 / 50 on :10 REST
#7 – by 50s on :10 REST
#8 – alt. 50 / 25 on :10 REST
#9 – by 25s on :05 REST

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