I had a mini-freak out last night. Mike made some comment that was totally not hurtful and it sent me to tears. Emotional basketcase anyone?
I have a lot going on in my life right now – Ironman training being the biggest of course but also some changes/new responsibilities/extra work at work, being a bridesmaid in 3 weddings, and more. I struggle/stress about the amount of money I’ve spent on Ironman and triathlon in general and I constantly stress about whether or not my training plan is enough. All age groupers struggle with similar situations while training for this event, but it kind of all came piling down on me last night.
One of my favorite bloggers, Page, recently posted her Ironman Arizona weekly workouts and someone commented about how could she possibly have time to fit in a life and the demands of everyday living (ie running errands, grocery shopping, cooking) on top of her 10 hours of training. It definitely struck a chord with me! Lately I’ve been struggling to fit all of that in with 15-18 hour training weeks and I know that coming up are the peak weeks of Ironman which will mean I’ll be eating, breathing and living triathlon training for over 20 hours a week at times. On top of this fearful anticipation of some significant training ahead of me, I also have the doubts/fears about my own self-training.
I chose to self-train mostly for monetary reasons, but also because I like to control my schedule. I also like group workouts, and I knew that I could arrange some group workouts which would give me a good workout without having to plan and execute it all myself. So what started as a Ironman training plan that was mostly modeled off of an online plan I found on TriFuel.com turned into a beast of it’s own that now barely resembles any particular training plan. Obviously there are the basics – three weeks of increasing weekend mileage, one week of recovery. Three swims a week, four-five bikes a week (trying to emphasize the bike since it’s my weakness), and three-four runs a week. One yoga a week. At least one separate core and upper body session a week, ideally two. Fundamentally I have everything down. Where I start to question myself is when I read/hear things that differ from my current approach. Do I incorporate speedwork? Some say yes, some say no. Do I add in strength training? Some say yes, some adamantly say no. Are my workouts in the right order? Should I have more specific goals for each workout? Should I be eating more clean and cut out sugar and alcohol?
I read a lot of blogs and I read a lot of articles about training, a lot of which contradict each other and my training in some way (quite naturally – there is no “one way” to train!). So, basically on about a weekly basis I come to Mike with some revelation about how and why we should change our training plan. Luckily, he’s quite calm and rational about this whole process, and even better, he self-coached himself for his first Ironman so he knows that if you put in the hours, you’ll get to the finish line. Am I going to reach my maximum potential for this race? Probably not, but since it’s my first race, I don’t think that’s really possible anyway.
What Mike constantly reminds me is, we’re here to have fun. We’re not here to win. I wouldn’t be training for an Ironman if I didn’t think it was fun. And for me, doing yoga once a week instead of another workout is fun. Knowing that I can eat a big greasy slice of pizza and the cupcakes that someone brought into work is fun for me. Going to Masters Swim is fun. Doing the Sufferfest bike workouts are fun. Would I benefit from doing a more specific swim, bike or run workout set out for me by a coach and by eating super clean? Possibly. But at the end of the day, I’m getting in my mileage and I’m doing the work. I will cross the finish line and I will have a big smile on my face knowing that I did it my way.
How do you stay sane during high volume training? Is is also hard for you to know that you’ve done enough to get to the finish line?