Last week, I wrote about training plans for runners who are planning to do late summer or fall races. This week, however, I'd like to highlight a different kind of training, one that requires immediate attention because the opening ceremonies are less than a week away. Yes, it's time to employ the London Olympics Spectator Training Program.
Training your eyes
The first task is to get your eyes ready. The last thing you want is to be confused while watching the Track and Field finals because you can't tell which athletes represent which countries. Take a moment to sit down in front of your television and turn on one of those irritating cable news networks. If the “BREAKING NEWS” looks blurry, then you'll never be able to see the tiny "USA" on the athlete's uniforms. Don't delay in updating your prescription.
Squats and lunges
Next up: squats and lunges, lots of them. Start by doing one set of ten squats followed by ten lunges. By the end of the week, you should be able to do at least three sets of each. Why are these exercises so important? For getting up off the couch during commercial breaks, or for sudden excitement-filled leaps towards the television during close finishes in swimming races.
Upper body strength
After the squats and lunges, it's time to focus on your upper body. Start with overhead presses, beginning with one set of ten and working your way up to three sets. In the event of multiple American victories, you'll be able to raise your hands over your head for extended periods of time while chanting “USA! USA! USA!”
Keeping digits in tip-top shape
Because NBC has said this Olympics will be heavily covered online, you may find yourself viewing events on your computer or even your phone. Therefore, you'll need to have your fingers in tip-top shape. Get them limber and ready by doing thumb circles, five each direction, twice daily. True, double workouts every day can be taxing, but with less than a week to go, desperate measures are warranted.
Work those biceps
Some people may be tempted to drink English ale while watching the London Olympics. In that case, a few bicep curls are in order. Use a light hand-weight, or any 12-ounce beverage, and do ten repetitions. If you're ambidextrous, you can do both arms, otherwise, just do the dominant side.
Consider proper nutrition
Once the Olympics start, it's important to remember things like proper nutrition and hydration. Consider preparing healthy meals in advance. If you must cook while watching the events, try to do so during the more sedate sports, like synchronized swimming or rhythmic gymnastics. After all, you're unlikely to knock over your saucepan while shouting “What an amazing ribbon flutter!” Attempting to dice onions during the final minutes of the basketball medal round, however, could result in a trip to the hospital.
Know the environment
Take some time to familiarize yourself with some of the potentially more irritating aspects of The Games and develop coping strategies. For example, the official 2012 Mascots are Wenlock and Mandeville. They are animated characters who, purportedly, are drops of steel. Drops of steel who have arms and legs but only one eye each. They strike me as a little creepy. You might want to have your remote handy at all times, in case you need to change the channel quickly to escape them.
More importantly, be prepared for a fast response when you hear the official song of the Olympics, Survival, by the British band Muse. I'm a big Muse fan, but I have to confess that this song, which will be played every time the athletes enter the stadium, makes my ears bleed. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the location of the mute button, or at the very least, have some earplugs on hand. In either case, you'll need the lightning fast reflexes of a soccer goalie so you can respond at the first discordant note.
Finally, try to go into The Games well rested. With approximately 300 events over 16 days, sleep deprivation is inevitable. Well-timed caffeine infusions can help you push through until the flame is extinguished at the closing ceremonies, but at some point, it will come down to sheer willpower. Remember, the fatigue is only temporary, but the pride of your accomplishment will last forever. Happy viewing, and good luck.
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