As you may or may not know I’ve rekindled my excitement for triathlon. It’s a hobby that keeps me fit and focusses my fitness training so that I can fish hard without injury. The last two years I’ve been working very hard on this training, particularly indoor bike riding on Zwift (a virtual training world) as well swimming on the lake (with Snakehead) and running in circles when in town. It’s been good and I’m currently far fitter than any time in recent years. Over a decade at least.
Here in Malaysia I’ve been struggling with the running. It’s humid and hot and anything over 10km is a sweaty slog. Which is a problem because the 1/2 Ironman has a 21.1km run and not 10. And the full Ironman, which I’m looking at in Langkawi next year, has a 42.2km run… in the middle of the day!
A couple of weeks ago my triathlon watch died. (We seem to be getting further away from the topic of fly fishing but fear not!) These watches are amazing. They GPS track your training while monitoring your heart rate. It’s become an indispensable tool for me. So I bought a new one for a price I don’t want to tell you or my wife but it was cheaper than a new fishing rod.
And then, finally, I really started to think about training zones and in particular racing heart rate zones. When you train for an hour you tend to go hard, all out for an hour. Trying to go faster. But the triathlon can be 6, 12 or more hours. That one-hour pace is unsustainable for a longer race. So I did a lot of Internet research (there is excellent info on the Net) and I discovered what should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain, that I was training in the wrong zones.
Last night instead of going hard hard hard on my run, I backed off and kept my heart rate within the endurance zone and no more (the endurance zone on my watch is called “easy” – ha!). The result was a pace that I can keep up all day and, surprisingly, not very much slower. Ta-da! Lightbulb moment and I’m very much looking forward to training and getting faster in this zone because this is one of the secrets to long distance triathlon.
The only question now is how the hell do I link this insight to fly fishing?
Ok I’ve got one… Most people who practise their casting only cast using one stroke. They have a fixed stroke for pretty much everything. I see it as a “third gear casting stroke”, that they use for both short and long casts and as a consequence struggle to vary both speed and arc independently of each other. So when I teach an experienced angler/ Intermediate caster, the first thing I do is to split their one stroke into two: Accuracy and Distance.
Ok that wasn’t very profound… Let me find another bridge.
How about this: we often teach using 5 and 6 weight lines. And that’s great for long duration casting sessions however what happens when fishing with a 10WT and a heavy Clouser or Crab pattern? Ah ha! Problems. So while 70% of our casting training can be with these lighter lines that “float through the air”, a certain percentage of our training should be with the appropriate tackle, cast in similar situations and distances to what we are going to find on the water.
Hmmm not bad. Or what about this…
We can do the wrong training for 25 years but once we have learned the correct way of training we can accomplish far more? Or what the hell was I thinking? Maybe I should have got a coach / joined a tri club / online forum? Yep any of those will work.
So that is the secret to writing FPs week in week out. And with a bit of practice you should be able to turn any conversation into fly fishing. Don’t worry that this might make you seem boring. Far from it! Talking about fly fishing is far more interesting than talking about babies, work, football, the weather or anything else at all in fact. And with practise, and in only one of two steps, you will be able to turn any conversation into some aspect of fly fishing and have more interesting discussions.
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