I think I tipped myself over the edge a little with the combination of work, training and lack of sleep. I have also been slacking on some of the basics like nutrition and caffeine intake and timing. I start off telling myself it’s ok to eat cake a couple of times a week, which turns into daily then adding in the occasional ice cream and the next thing I know I’m having sugar 2-3 times a day. The reality is that after years of eating almost no sugar I know I’m very sensitive to it and that it disturbs my sleep if I have either too much or have it too late in the day. I kept on making the excuse that I’d get away with it because of the training load. The irony is that that’s exactly why I need to be more disciplined with the food. I can’t afford to miss or have poor quality sleep with such a big training volume and increasingly busy workload.
While talking to athletes and during my own training over the last few weeks one golden rule has come up again and again. In my mind it’s probably the most important rule to make all training decisions by. It’s certainly one Ais has driven home again and again.
Work has gone a bit nuts in the last couple of weeks as we enter the busiest time of our year and I think that’s what’s been affecting the sleep. I’m taking it home with me at night and not switching the head off. I then spend the whole night unable to sleep, I’m tossing and turning getting increasingly wound up at the lack sleep, the fact that I’m supposed to be up early to train, that I’m not resting and in a vicious circle I get more and more wound up. I’d probably be better just getting up and reading a book for an hour then going back to sleep when I’m less distracted and more relaxed.
“The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts”
T.E. Lawrence: Lawrence Of Arabia
I was listening to an interview recently with a triathlon coach. He was ex army or marines or something like that and he said something that really changed the way I thought about pain or hurting.
This week see’s the return of the first of what I call a “big day” of training since 2013 when I was last getting ready to qualify for Kona. I did it on Thursday and was out with a couple of the guys we coach. The day consisted of a 3800m swim and straight out onto a 5 hour bike and we got straight off for an hours run. I was glad that I wasn’t too fried after it to go in to work, I was on the last few hours of the late shift. I really enjoyed the day and was even able to do a 2.5 hour run the next morning. Overall it’s a good weeks training. Read on for this weeks update…
It’s not that many years ago that we all raced sprint, Olympic and maybe one half Ironman at the end of the season. Ironman was the distance we marveled at. It was something that we all aspired to but very few ever did. More and more, Ironman is what brings people into triathlon and even if they start at the shorter distances it’s often where they see themselves getting to eventually. It’s aspirational, it’s a badge of honor in both in and out of triathlon. What other sport or race do you know of bar the Olympics that people get a tattoo of the logo after they’ve done it? Ironman is changing our sport and no more so than how we think of and race the shorter distances.
Myself and Ais went out to the start of the second stage of the Ras this morning and while chatting to Mark Dowling I told him we would be on the road at the only climb of the day, he suggested that I could hand up bottles as it looked like being a hot day on the Ras. I needed no further invitation to be a part of the riders day so I grabbed a bunch of bottles from the team car as Brendan drove by in the cavalcade.
I’ve found over the last few years that it takes me months before I start to feel fit or strong. I suppose it’s the nature of the way we train, big volume coupled with a lot of strength work means that for months I’m moving relatively slowly and constantly drifting in and out varying states of tiredness as I get through the increasing workload. I usually reach a point a couple of months in where I think it’s not working, I’m not getting any faster or stronger and a couple of times I’ve gone and gotten blood tests to see if I’m unwell or run down. I recognised that phase over the last couple of weeks and I think I’m now starting to come out of that phase. I’ve seen signs over the last week that the body is starting to adapt to the massive load of the first three months and I’m feeling strong in all three sports. Thursday saw me do a 3.8k TT in the pool and I was very happy with the results. Sunday was one of the first times on the bike for almost as long as I can remember that I felt strong and lively, I even pushed the pace a little on the climbs and found myself not getting dropped. It was a good week of running too and although I haven’t seen a bump in speed on the run yet I feel like it’s just around the corner.
Anyway, read on for the weeks training.
Most of us over estimate what we can do in a year or even just a couple of months and under estimate what we can do in 2, 3,4 or even 10 years. When we set out with a target to do our first race be it a triathlon, running race, Ironman or whatever the challenge a lot of us give it a certain amount of time. It might be 4, 6 or maybe even 20 weeks to get fit and complete the event. Often our next target is to get faster so we go back and again we allow ourselves a certain amount of time to get in shape. Sometimes we add in extra training and maybe do some intervals or other specific sessions. This usually works for a while and we get faster, then along comes the big idea. I wonder could I podium in my age group, win a small race, break a certain time for a distance or whatever the target is. It’s often a stretch from where we currently are so when we decide to go for it we train like crazy. Harder, more, longer sessions and sometimes it works but often it doesn’t and as failure looms we stop and accept defeat. But what if the only thing we are getting wrong is the amount of time it takes? What if we allowed ourselves longer to reach the big goals. Instead of thinking about how fit you could get in 10 weeks of cramming in training for an event what if you managed to do a little less each week but trained consistently in a sustainable manner for 100 weeks? Can you even begin to imagine how much fitter, faster, stronger or healthier you would be if you were able to sustain a training block for 400 weeks? If training properly, consistently became a lifestyle and a normal part of your life.
I don’t have a training image for this weeks blog so here’s the dog looking bonkers. He had been causing trouble with all the allergy issues but now he is actually turning into a good excuse for a second run some days. I guess he’s gone from being a training hindrance to a training aid. Anyway it’s been all about the bike this week, swimming takes a back seat and the run is also a little neglected but I am finally starting to feel the results of all the strength work on the bike.
I do however suffer a bit as a result of being lazy on the S&C front. Read on for all the weeks goodness.