What to do on the Baby Break?

We are now the proud owners of a brand new baby girl! I’m pretty sure we have the complete set now. Four kids, two parents. Yep. That seems like plenty. I’m being lined up for the snip but my excuse is I can’t afford two weeks off the bike until after Ironman New Zealand, so I’ve got a six month reprieve for now!

But five weeks off training doesn’t mean five weeks off preparing for Ironman New Zealand. In fact, this is an opportunity to work on some of the aspects which get neglected when training is the main focus. Things like:

  • Stretching. I should establish a daily stretching routine, focusing on my plantar, calves and hammies. I’d also love to do the 6 foot drills once a day.
  • Core work. This is great time to establish my core routine. I’ve got a set of exercises I did regularly in the buildup to the Gold Coast Half Ironman last year. Doing these daily would be ideal.
  • Diet. Start eating properly. This is a harder one that will require constant willpower all day. With the stress/dramas of a new baby, the willpower will be in short supply. So now is probably not the time to start trying this. I will have to keep an eye out for bad habits though.
  • Regular running. One of my goals for a while has been to run short daily. My theory is that I will get less run injuries if I can make it a regular part of life. Something easy like a 4km minimum run every single day. I’m torn on this. My calf tears have still not healed back to where they were before (and I’m starting to wonder if they ever will). On the one hand I’m worried that running daily will lead to injuries because the calves will not get enough rest to heal. On the other hand I’ve given these calves more than enough time to heal (right calf – 9 months 15 days and counting…) so I almost want to grind them into submission.
  • Barefoot running. No, not actual barefoot running! But minimalistic running as per the
    “Born to Run” book. I’ve been wearing Nike Free 5.0 shoes around for about a year and doing the odd short run in them, and I own a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers which have been gathering dust in the closet for months. I know I will eventually head down the Barefoot Running route, but I’m cautious about dabbling with my running technique six months out from my first Ironman (and my first marathon). There is a lot to gain but also a lot to lose!

WARNING TO SELF! I need to be very careful about what I try to undertake during this baby break. Each vow/pledge will take a little bit of energy to enforce. My energy stores will hit some pretty low levels once the baby is home and sleep deprivation kicks in. Failure on just one of these goals could lead to total failure on all goals. And if (when) times get tough with the new bubs, I don’t want a tonne of failure thrown in with it! There’s no point setting myself up for a bout of depression!

So, what are my options to minimise failure?

  1. Do nothing. I love this one. Always a favourite! The default.
  2. Commit to less. Pick one thing only and try to do it.
  3. Create a Failure Plan. This is a step-by-step plan where each failure is anticipated and planned for. When a failure is encountered (“Arghh – I haven’t done my core work for a week”), you just execute the Failure Plan for that goal (Drop the core work down to once a week) and move on. Because the failure is planned for, you’re just executing the plan, and the negativity is minimised. In reality, anything more than “Do nothing” is a positive during this baby break. There is a danger that the Failure Plan approach makes it easier to quit – but then the priority during this period, above all else, is the baby; even if no goals are met, a happy baby and mum is a success. Plus I want to come out of this period inspired, energised, motivated and supported! (not defeated, drained, deflated and divorced!)

So it sounds like I’ve talked myself into: daily stretching, running and core work with a Failure Plan to fall back on. I’d better get that done before bubs is home and the $h!t hits the f@n!

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