I’m about to admit my great geekiness here so please go easy with me. I’m a big Doctor Who fan, starting with ‘new Who’ in 2005. Earlier exposure to the 70’s (or maybe it was 80s) Doctor Who was a little too out-there for me but now I’m going back to watch from the beginning. This becomes relevant to Compex or Compex becomes relevant to Doctor Who, I promise.
I’ve been using the Compex Sport Elite as much as I can lately. Since last week I have been using the Endurance or Resistance program during the day and Active Recovery during the evening. Which means that I spend a lot of time with the pads on various parts of my body and cables stretching out from those pads. I also have a dog that likes to go outside to sit in the back yard and then come inside and repeat throughout the day. Because I don’t want to have to move while running a Compex program, I don’t start when she’s outside. But sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a program when she gets incredibly whiny about going outside so I’ll get up. Of course, as any of you who have moved while using the Compex know, this can be a bit difficult. For example if I’m doing an Endurance program, every time it goes into a ‘work’ effort I need to stop in the middle of the walk to the door and wait for it to finish and go into a recovery effort before I can take another few steps.
On one of these ‘walks’, I caught sight of myself in the mirror - walking slowly, with cables stretching out of my legs - and immediately thought of The Controller in the Bad Wolf episode of Doctor Who.
Only, I’m not so geeky that I have all of the episodes memorized and before I started looking for a clip or photo of the Controller, I thought that this episode was the one titled ‘The Long Game.’
And now we are at the point where this becomes relevant. Because thinking of the title ‘The Long Game’ made me think about my own Long Game and about how the Compex Sport Elite fits into that Long Game.
I have been reading Magical Running by Bobby McGee and the book contains a very good section outlining the difference between targets and goals. Individual races are targets. The goal is to have a fit, healthy, and happy life (or whatever your goal is). For most, and probably all, of us our training and races are not one time events but are part of an active lifestyle to which we have become committed. For my training and racing goals, I am hoping to stay healthy throughout this year, build my endurance, drop a few pounds ;-), and get ready for an ironman distance race next year. On a personal level, I’d love to balance that with time for family and friends, continuing volunteer activities, and some free time to read philosophy and study languages.
Lately, I’ve had a lot of obstacles in the way of achieving my race goals. I’ve mentioned my health issues before but there have also been issues with work and other commitments getting in the way of my training. While this has been frustrating (I’d rather have gone on a long bike ride or run than having had to start work at 5:30 Saturday morning), I have been trying to reassure myself that not only is no particular race result the determination of my success but I have been outlining the steps I need to take to get me to my actual goal, both athletic and personal. And yes, a new job is moving quite rapidly to the top of that list!
But back to my Long Game and Compex. What I love about my Compex Sport Elite is it’s ability to fit into this plan. Based on the last few years, I know that staying healthy is the key to achieving all of my other goals - both athletic and personal. While much of this is influenced by my allergy management, dealing with those muscle and joint aches and strains is another key element. Having injured my knee one season and my back the next, I know how much those injuries can set back training. In my case, they’ve caused muscle imbalances, weakness, and ongoing pain. But I also know how much I can benefit by building strength to counteract the imbalances and weakness. Some of this is done through swimming, biking and running. However, without the needed supplemental work, I continue to reinforce the weaknesses and imbalances rather than reducing them. Of course, it is difficult to always find the time to do this very necessary supplemental work. It’s especially difficult for us type-A, driven athletes who feel that we can only do our best by increasing our mileage or increasing our speed. I may find it especially difficult - having to use my limited free time in the gym when I could be reading makes me grumpy.
Thankfully, the Compex Sport Elite addresses my problems (and reduces my grumpiness). First, through using the Endurance and Resistance programs I am able to address both my muscle imbalances and my weak areas. For example, the quad programs allow me to target both the inner and outer quad muscle, helping my knees to track straight. The calf program is helping with the ITB pain from my hyper-mobile ankle. The endurance and resistance programs are helping me strengthen my abs, lower back and glutes just as the doctor ordered. Second, the Active Recovery programs are helping me recover from each workout that I do so that I can do another one. This is especially helpful given then limited time that I have right now. In an ideal world, I’d do a hard workout one day and a recovery workout the next. But I don’t live in an ideal world right now. So instead, I use the Active Recovery programs so that I can do hard workouts two days in a row as necessary. The best part: I can do all of this while working or, on some great days, relaxing with a book. As a result, I can stay healthy and, staying healthy, I can continue to move towards my goals. Which means that by next year, I might be able to move to the next inning of my personal Long Game.