So one of the learnings that somehow fell out of my little half marathon the past week was that I need to find some balance in my training - or rather balance when I'm not "training".
During my so-called 'on season', or rather race season, I train like a mad woman. Like most people training for an Ironman, I'd find myself training six days a week with at least three of those days doing double shifts (ie swim/bike, or bike/run). Let's not forget the loooong trainer or outdoor bike rides and runs. Needless to say it gets rather time consuming.
This is not a complaint however. It's what I choose to do because I love the lifestyle, the fitness, and the opportunity at the end of it all to challenge my mental and physical abilities in one of the greatest endurance races available.
After the race is done, then what? Some get right back on the horse and start over again training for another race. Others train for a different type of race, perhaps a marathon or something.
What I seemed to have done the past two years that I've been involved in Ironman is...well...is not a whole heck of a lot once the race is done. It's almost like I get burnt out from being constantly on a schedule for 6-8 months, so I just want to rebel and do nothing.
After IMCDA this year I did keep up the exercise and I was impressed with my recovery. I wasn't on a schedule and I enjoyed working out. Then after IMC, which I didn't do but cheered a good majority of my friends on, it seemed my training, or exercising as it should be called now, fell off the rails.
I got caught up in other aspects of my life - school, fundraising, and work. I realized after the half marathon that this really didn't sit well with me. I gained weight and when I did go out for a run it wasn't as easy as before. Granted I was still in better shape than a good percentage of the population, but it wasn't to the standard that I'm comfortable with. And that's the important part - 'the standard that I'm comfortable with'.
I decided to make some shifts in my life. I started to clear out some of the clutter - at least what I could for the month of October. Then I made sure to keep November pretty clear too, except for the necessities. Next thing I did was come up with an exercise plan that I would find enjoyable and would take me to January when I will get back into the mode of Ironman training.
Oh, that was the other thing that struck me...if I don't maintain a certain level of fitness then January's Ironman training was going to come at me like a cannonball and that just wouldn't be very fun.
I truly admire people like my friends Greg and Julie who can, for the most part, go almost all year round training for their sport. I don't think I could do it. That said, next year will be like that for me as I'll have IMC in August, then IMCozumel in November. This will be a challenge because I really do like variety in my life - that includes in my training. But that's next year and not my concern in the present moment.
So what am I doing now? Well, I'm making a few trips to the mountains to see friends and do some activities like hiking and trail running, which I love to do. This coming weekend, I'm going to follow my friend Julie and her IM program, for Saturday and Sunday, as a way to get a little more motivated. Also, I'm making plans to hit the mountains more in order to get some major cross country skiing in this year - instead of running all the time. Lastly, I've also signed up for another three months of yoga. It sounds like a lot, but really I'm just trying to get in 45 minutes to an hour a day of something!
Of course I'm also getting back into the basics - running and biking - just to make sure my body remembers what it will need to do next year. On Monday I hopped on the trainer for 45 minutes and had a pretty good workout. (Although I'm sure it's nothing like the 1.5 hours I will be doing with Julie this weekend!) I've actually been using my trainer time for quiet time. Life has been a wee bit hectic of late and I like just zoning into what my body is doing on the bike. That means no music and no dvd's or anything. It's quite peaceful.
Tonight I got out for an, almost, hour long run with one of my dearest friends, Leslie. Her life has been as 'full' as mine has so we haven't had a lot of time to touch base, which is unusual for us. On the off chance that she might be free tonight I called her as I was leaving work to see if she could fit in a run and chat. As luck would have it she could.
We had a wonderful time running along the river pathway and catching up on all that life has been offering us of late. There was a Chinook arch in the sky and the clouds looked incredible! The clouds were full of swirls and billowy and the sky beyond was the brightest budgie blue. It was gorgeous, not to mention warm!
I'm thankful that I realized that just because I'm not training for an Ironman, or some other event, that doesn't mean I can just sit on my haunches. (Actually, I don't think I ever thought it did mean sit and do nothing, I just somehow lost all motivation or something.) Instead, I have to keep up the fitness, just perhaps not at the level of race season. After all, I never was a couch potato when I wasn't triathlon training, so why start now?! Fitness has always been part of my life and always will be. Not only does it bring me good health, but also peace and serenity.
Hmmm, perhaps that's why I was starting to feel ill a while back - because I hadn't been working out, therefore I lost that place of peace and serenity. Definitely food for thought...
Peace out my friends!