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boston 1


Every race has two journeys. There's the journey to the start line -- the hours of training, the rearranged schedules, the game plans, the moments of growth and of frustration. And then there's the journey from the start line -- the hours you spend out on  the race course, putting your faith in your training and hoping to leave your best behind you.  For me. the 118th Boston Marathon was a journey of injury, uncertainty, and ultimately commitment.

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Our skill board has looked a little different than usual recently. Instead of the classic "3x5s" and "3-3-3-3-3"s we have added some Xs and 0s. 
Examples: 3 x 10 pullups at 31x6
or 2 x 10 pushups at 30X1

These numbers reflect some new tempo work we have been doing at Ganbatte. When most people hear "tempo," they think speed. This work is just the opposite. The emphasis, usually, is on slowing down, not speeding up - on breaking for the components of a movement and isolating muscles, building form and strength at the same time.

Tempos work like this: for the push ups and pullups, you lengthen the amount of time (in this case, to three counts and two counts, respectively) it takes to get to the bottom of the movement, explode at the bottom, and then hold for a certain amount of time at the top. Focusing on these descents is the exact opposite of what we tend to do in workouts. When the clock is ticking, our emphasis is on driving UP - to get to the top of that pushup, or to get our chin or chest to the bar. When the clock is ticking, our form also tends to fall apart, as we push and push toward getting more reps.

Tempos, by contrast, help to build body awareness and control. When you take a full two to three seconds to get to the bottom of a push-up, you'd better believe you're much more aware of any possible "worm" that may creep into your spine. And when you're hanging on to a bar with your chin hovering above it for a full six counts, the word "control" takes on a whole new meaning. Tempos can be extremely taxing - and nothing feels quite so satisfying as being able to go back to a movement at "normal" speed after spending that much time breaking things down.
It sounds cliched, but it's true: sometimes you really need to slow things down in order to speed them up. Tempo work is all in service of getting us faster and stronger over the long haul. In the process, it teaches us the most important training skill of all: patience.
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