It's that time of year again in the Northern Hemisphere to start thinking of the upcoming season. Posting an old one (11/20/14) from Elmore which pretty well sums up the thought process.---JD
This morning Joe (Royer) and I did another 70-minute circuit in the harbor. Though cool--mid 40s Fahrenheit--it was an ideal day to paddle. The sun was out and the wind was at a minimum.
I felt quite good in the boat today. There was a bit of soreness in my upper back, but not much, and paddling didn't seem to aggravate it. Of course, the long layoff means my fitness is down a bit, and by the end of the session I was feeling some fatigue.
It's not uncommon for me to take some time off in the fall. Some years I take just a short time off, and other years, like this one, I stay out of the boat for six weeks or more. It all depends on how busy I am with other things, and how I'm feeling. Every year during this down-time, I get anxious about the lost fitness, and sometimes I even entertain some doubts about whether I have it in me to come back for another season of training and racing. But so far, I've done it every year. It always starts with some easy sessions like Tuesday's and today's. Before I know it, I've settled into a consistent routine, and after a couple of months I'm ready to start doing some more serious workouts.
And that's the big secret (and it's not really a secret): take things a day at a time and just enjoy the process. I follow the St. Louis Cardinals during baseball season, and players quite often talk about how it's important to focus on one game at a time, and not succumb to thoughts like "we're five games back; we have to go out and win eleven of our next twelve!" This theme was also emphasized by Bill Endicott during his tenure as coach of the U.S. whitewater slalom team: he often noted that a trait he saw in successful people in all fields was "fascination with the process."
So, I need not be anxious about all the work it's going to take to get myself back in shape. I should just relax and enjoy myself each time I go down to paddle, and it'll add up to some good training soon enough.