It was a crazy-busy week last week. Like all triathletes who are balancing family, work and training, my timetable is pretty tight with only a small buffer available for unusual events. Of course you always get some unusual events so you get pretty good at working around them whilst still fitting the training in. But each time you reshuffle your schedule this there is extra stress on yourself, extra strain on your relationship and work quality can suffer too. Do this too often and you’ll be heading for a breakup, …or a breakdown!
Finding the Sweet Spot
I’m always trying to find the sweet spot centred between training, work and family. Some kind of relaxed zen zone where your life is in harmony and birds sing beautifully from the trees on sunny days.
When I was doing Olympic tri training, I could hear the birds singing.
When I was dong Half-Ironman training, I was catching fragments of verse on the wind.
As I build to training for Ironman New Zealand, I hear cursing and howling and I’m pretty sure that ain’t no bird! I’m not sure I’ll be able to find any sweet spot with ironman training. This probably explains the high number of “one and done” ironmen athletes!
The Goal this Week
The goal this week was pretty simple: continue with the regular routine but extend the long ride from 4hrs to 5hrs. This builds towards my goal of a 7hr ride in a fortnight – just before I knock off for baby-time.
But alas, it all turned to custard! This week there was a drip-drip-drip of unusual events that eventually overwhelmed all goals and left me deciding to forget all training and just enjoy it.
A Series of Unfortunate Events…
It started on Tuesday with a sick toddler (= no sleep or work for two days), Thursday saw the kids School Sports Day, on Friday it was a blown-up dishwasher, and then it was my baby-girls 2nd birthday and the parties/events that go with it. I contorted for a while, with an ill-advised post-buffet dinner night run, and culminating in ludicrous plans for a 3AM Sunday morning ride.
But eventually I was able to step back and realise that it wasn’t meant to be, and that I would be better served to conserve my energy, enjoy a weekend off and then hit the next week fresher and harder. This sounds kinda obvious, but when you are in there trying to work the timetable, it can be hard to see the point at which it is better to step back and say “Bugger it! Forget the exercise.”
Can I Miss a Training Session?
As a triathlete, I am constantly aware of motivation – I’m building walls against motivation failing – I’m trying to build enough training momentum that motivation is easy. Stepping away from a session can be one of the signs that you are losing motivation, so it is something I am reluctant to do.
I’m always listening for the tell-tale excuses popping into my head trying to get me to give a session away. When I hear these voices I instinctively try to shut them down and then use them as motivation to push harder – to complete the session regardless (this can be good and BAD!). The constant fear is that missing one session will lead to missing a second, then a third, then, before you know it, two weeks have gone by and your season plans have unravelled. And if you DO miss one session, it is always just a little bit harder to do the next session. Miss two and it is harder again… Missing a training session is motivational poison!
Relax and Enjoy!
So this week I overcame my fear of missing a session. I found the point at which the pros of doing the training are outweighed by the cons (well, possibly I found the point at which it had become impossible to fit the training in!). Hopefully next time I’ll recognise the situation earlier, so I can spend more time relaxing and less time stressing! When I next write, it should be to report that I’ve rebounded into my training with extra gusto and oomph… (unless the poison has taken me!)