I have a funny story to tell you and I bet you can relate to it. Have you ever had an “out of body experience” when exercising or playing a sport? A moment where you disconnected from the action and drifted into a different state of mind. A temporary space transport like in Star Trek!
Although, there is much talk about the Mind-Body connection that we should have with exercise, what happens when that connection is not there? What is “Mindbody” anyway besides the booking software that we use at TCR?! It can be defined as “the link between a person's thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors and their physical health.”
The First Assessment
My story is this. I was asked by a TCR client and friend to join a recreational hockey league this fall. It was a 9:45PM game as that is the ice-time allotted to adults and old-timers! One-hour, full equipment, and no hitting. I said why not?! I used to play competitive hockey and was a strength and conditioning coach for collegiate hockey teams. I know how to play, at least I think I did. But that was 20 years ago as a coach and 25 years ago as a player. No problem, I am still relatively fit and ride thousands of KMs per year. I also mountain bike which I thought is just like hockey. I was excited and this would be fun! I taped my stick, sharpened my skates, and even bought a new helmet. This would be return to my good old glory days.
This is where the Mind-body connection started to separate. My mind was fast, but my body was slow. Someone had turned the speed dial down to slow-motion. My first shift, my legs immediately filled with lactate and my hands turned to stone. It was like I just finished a 100km ride and some said let’s sprint up that hill. There was no gas, and I was only 30 seconds into the game. A teammate passed me the puck and I shot it right back to him! What was I supposed to do with the puck, I can barely stand up!
The Mind-Body Disconnect
Second shift, the total mind-body disconnection. I recollected myself on the bench and tried to laugh it off, but I knew something was off! There was a quick turn-over in our end and suddenly I saw a chance to sprint and take off for a “two on one” break. Someone yelled “two!!” The term used to tell you that you have a scoring chance. My mind knew what to do. Accelerate to the open ice for a scoring chance. Turn it on! Just like the old days. But my legs said NO! It wasn’t fitness but a total nervous system breakdown. There was no acceleration or quick strides. I think I resembled Forest Gump when he had his corrective leg braces on. My legs had separated from my mind. The two-on one break turned into a one-on-one. I didn’t make it.
As the game went on, the coordination slowly came back, and I kept my shifts short. My new teammates thought I was just being nice and pleasant. But I was just actually trying to save face and a meltdown. There was no speed, and my hands were stone all night. The next morning my pelvis felt like it was hit by a bowling ball.
The next day I immediately thought of you, the reader. The people who turn to our blog for tips and training advice in Coach’s Corner! What can I share with you that will help you this off-season and next year? My first advice is to get an assessment. You don’t have to go play hockey, but you should figure out where you are strong and weak. Do you have a Mindbody disconnect? Chances are you have been doing the same routines all summer without a lot of accelerations or speed work. We all want to maintain our fitness, balance, and speed. But what are you doing to address this? When was the last time you sprinted, accelerated, or tried to be fast?
Our bodies respond well to change and new stimuli. What should you add into your training plan to rebuild your muscles and nervous system? Some of you may need strength work. Some could use Altitude training to improve your breathing. Some might need to stretch and become more mobile. I know what I need to do! It’s flexibility and speed work. I need to regain something that used to be a strength for me. What do you think you need to work on? Be honest, it will help you out more than you know!