4 days off. Big zeros in TrainingPeaks. Not a step take, pedal turned or stroke placed in the water for 4 days.
Not a good strategy for Ironman training you say? I’m not so sure.
Training for Ironman is in itself an endurance event. Somewhere between 6 and 12 months long. Unless you are financially independent, or a professional triathlete (and sometimes even then) there are other things that come up in daily life that can interfere with the swim/bike/run/strength/flexibility/recovery cycle. During the last two weeks, the interruptions have come from my day job.
I like my day job, but have had several new projects start and others have started to ramp up in intensity and time commitments. Further, I’m covering a role for a recently retired co-worker. He’s now off motorcycling around the country (every moment, hard earned), and I’m sitting in his SDLC meetings. I know this is only temporary, but the combination of new tasks, increasing intensity of existing projects and covering a whole new role has me running on fumes at the end of the day.
So there have been more than a few 12-13 hour workdays in the last couple of weeks, and what feel like normal days are 9-10 hours long. Toss in some extreme drives to remote office sites for good measure.
While the work has been interesting, the interactions with different teams are mostly engaging and stimulating, the energy expenditure has been really high. So much so that at the end of the day, there isn’t anything left to train. On days when I am coaching masters swim at the Y or presenting to our Base Builders tem, I’m lucky to be there on time usually coming in directly off a work engagement.
I’m capable of carrying a pretty heavy load and still be very productive, and get my workouts done. I know that I’m over-subscribed when I only remember tasks at the very last minute, or forget things like gear bags, keys, shopping lists etc. It’s a clear sign that both ends of the candle are on fire.
On Thursday this week I ended up with back-to back meetings or work assignments from 7:30-4:00pm, and about 10 min for lunch where I tossed back something quick and crappy. By the time I came up for air in my office it was almost 7:00pm, and any energy left to train was shot. A zero in the training log
Friday wasn’t much different. Instead of getting to the pool at 5:15am, I overslept (another sign of impending burnout) and barely made it to work in time for my 1st meeting. I also left my access card ID at home (another sign). I planned to get out of the office for a ride or run at 3:00, but never made it out the door until after 4:00pm. I decided to swim with the group on Friday, and opted to get other chores done on the way home from work. At 8:00pm as I entered the Y for masters, I realized I didn’t have my swim gear with me.
At that point I knew I needed a ‘reset’ weekend. A whole weekend of sloth, sloppy eating, too much TV and no work, workouts or any mental stimulation beyond a James Bond movie. The only commitment I had was mothers day brunch with the family on Sunday, and I knew that the rest provided by two full days off was just the prescription for my ailments.
Thankfully, Saturday was a wet, and eventually stormy day. I sat in my easy chair from the moment I awoke, until I went to bed that evening. I ate lots of comfort stuff, and didn’t give a rats-ass (until I had the GI upset that comes with too much dairy and grain products). I took a long nap in mid afternoon, and went to bed early and slept a solid 8 hours. I sort of thought about running on Sunday, but still didn’t feel completely rested. I did get my meals back on track for breakfast & lunch, and had a lovely drive in the country with mom after our meal out with the family. I purposely drove on one of my favorite bike routes in order to kick-start my brain into wanting to ride. Once we got back home, I set up my hammock and spent a couple of hours reading magazines and daydreaming. Just a delightful afternoon.
And now I’m totally recharged. I spent the last hour catching up on my RSS feeds, filling the Buffer pool with good stuff and finally kicking out a blog post. I’ve also updated my calendar, and blocked out the energy necessary to have good workouts for the next several week. I can feel my creativity increasing, and am looking farther forward in planning than just the next 15 minutes.
I’m back, ready to hit it hard, fast & often.