Friday, 8 June 2012

Ironman training and the NHS. Alike and not alike

Having a well earned rest with a few days off after doing two days of the Tour of Wessex which is quite simply one of the most enjoyable events I know. The photo above shows myself, Lance and Kris who had agreed at the start of the first day we would take it easy for the first thirty km or so until it we got to Cheddar Gorge.  So a full thirty seconds later I fly off down the road with Kris chasing.  A group of 4 formed and we were soon hammering it. It was exhilarating as we flew past everybody and all thougths of control were left in the vapour trail as we tore across the flatlands towards Glastonbury Tor. The rest of the 2 days and 220 odd miles were not quite so fast but were just as enjoyable inspite of our tear up at the start.

Training appears to be catching up and the familiar tiredness that challenges your resolve to start a session hovers around but the commitment to my goal at IM Switzerland remains. In some ways I am perhaps a bit fresher than last year at the same point but not quite so quick (yet!) so long as I dont think about running.

My plan this year is slowly overcoming the obstacles of illness and work and with under 6 weeks to go I am confident of a performance of sorts but perhaps not the next level I would hope for.

So how is Ironman like the NHS. Well if I look simply at the process of getting fit for an IM and trying to manage services in the NHS there are clear similarities. I know what my goals are in both. I know what sort of time, resources and commitments are required to get the expected results. For those training for an IM should recognise the effort in part of the equation coupled with some specific IM knowledge should get you near the outcome you hope for. Coupled with this is the endless ironman logic that you need to keep going, making adjustments improving you capacity and keeping site of the final goal. Like wise you would expect that if I plan for a certain level of NHS activity, develop the services ability to deliver and improve on their existing quality indicators then again we should be somewhere in the ballpark. Howver this is where the outcomes can vary dramatically. In the IM there will be a race, it will most likely involve the swim run and bike bit and will come in at around 140 miles in total. If you have trained hard and dont have a major catastrophe I find the results will reflect the training.

In the NHS the rules change, constantly. One moment you expect to be paid per case the next you are looking at a block contract. One moment you think that you will not be held responsible if you only undertake the work commissioned the next moment you are told you will be responsibile for targets to achieve all the work regardless of whether you are to be paid for it. It is often a strange mix of "third way" internal markets and what I can only describe as neostalinism where we are expected to deliver no matter what the funding or staffing available. So not really like ironman except perhaps for the constanht challenge and the need to persevere through each and every barrier to success.

Back to training it's a lot simpler

No comments: