Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The Economy of Happiness

I have an easy week of training this week . Thankfully . I needed it .Although on Sunday as we relaxed after the swim and joked about training I recall my wife berating me for being a gym junkie and spending everyday at the gym doing classes. In those early days of working out,  it turned out the maximum amount of physical training I was doing was a whopping 5-8 hours a week .Nothing like the 15 plus hours now and certainly not the 27 hours a week in my first IM programme.

The easy week is not such a feature in many programmes and for me the only real difference will be the long run and ride are dropped. Otherwise it remains just as heavy. The only difference this week is with the wet weather we are having I  may miss a few sessions and move them around.

On Monday it was a light day with a swim in the evening. I did a 2.4km swim with 600m warm up followed by a 600m, 500m, and 400m and medium pace and then 300m cool down . I did not swim with the squad today as I started early.On Tuesday it was a wet rainy morning so I skipped the ride and ran in the evening. I had a hard session with a lot of coughing from the chest probably from the hay fever and lingering infection. We did a warm up and then 1 km , 2km and 3km at threshold pace of 4.38 min/km . with a 1,2,3minutes recovery after each run. I did about 11km all up.

This week Perth is the centre of attention with the CHOGM ( Commonwealth head of States meeting) Lots of dignitaries and the city in lock down. There are lots of activities being hosted and I may go to the barbecue for the Queen on Saturday if the weather holds up . But I will be working my training schedule round the activities .

Having said that , After today's session , as I listened to the radio discussion on the economy and Australia, in particular the protest in New York and Europe , we do have a lot to be thankful for. The uncertainty of the economy in the United States and Europe will impact on the world and these next 6 months can be a significant turning point of how this whole sad situation will play out.

What is evident and is reflected in training for endurance sport. ,sometimes being frugal and economic with your energy is critical to performance. It is not the biggest engine that wins but the most efficient engine that wins. Similarly , why work and why have debt. The crisis we see unfolding in a simplistic way and I have stated before is a combination of greed , lack of regulation, and living in a state of accumulating debt or simply spending more than we have. In some situations that is necessary.

I am not an avid fan of pure market capitalism with no regulation. The unevenness of information demands state control of the capital market to make it work properly. The lax regulation and the many countries like the United States and some European States having huge deficits will and does come home to roost.

Only 50 years ago ,  in my parents generation , it was never the norm to be in debt and whilst the past 25 years has seen significant growth in the value of housing , I somehow don't see that happening in the future and so our main asset is not going to keep up with our rising depth if we spend more than we have.

Which leads to the question why train to be economic with energy because by being efficient one can complete the race with the least amount of energy. (which is a finite resource in a race) Similarly why spend more than you have ? Why do we work and live a stressful and unhealthy life.? If we have no valid response , we really are not living an efficient economic life.

Should we measure the State of our lives like the Country of Bhutan , a happiness meter .Although Bhutan is not a model country of happiness with its share of a dark history of  treatment of Nepali speaking Bhutanese.

How happy are we each day and more importantly what makes us happy are the questions. Somehow how wealthy we are or how many worldly goods we have may not really cut it.

I work and train and spend time with my family because I am passionate about what I do. I enjoy it and the money is important but secondary. I strive to be good and to achieve a good result. It is a race , a race to win. Winning is measured not by finishing first but having done the best I can. That in turn makes me happy.

Fortunately , a lot of what I do does not cost  a lot relatively. Well the bike does but when I take the number of hours I use my bike it is actually very economic.

What is the point . Simply , in the turmoil of modern life with competing pressures and the huge gulf of wealth between rich and poor, learn to distill what makes YOU happy and strive to achieve your true potential .

For me it isn't about the dollars , it is about satisfaction and the moments you cannot buy, the memories of collectively what we call your life. The more it is filled with these treasured moments , the happier I believe you will be.

There are somethimg's money can't buy
For everything else there is......