On (Doing, Being, Trying) Enough

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Happy Monday Tuesday, friends!

Another week done. One week closer to the start of my triathlon racing season. This also means that we are one week closer to moving. Time, man. It marches on. After last week’s discussion and public declaration that I would start eating all the nutritious things and prepare my food to set myself up for success, I had a pretty good week. As stated, I never intended to eat 100% clean all the time, as that sets me, personally, up for failure. I relaxed a bit on the weekend, and ate dessert when I wanted, all while focusing on mostly whole foods at meal and snack times. I kept up my hydration too, and I was feeling much better last week. Naturally, I felt the positive effects in my workouts. Here’s what I got up to last week:

 

Monday

32km ride: A low cadence ride before work. I’m not sure if I’ve said it before, but low cadence work on the bike is quickly becoming one of my favourite workouts. I feel strongest when I’m grinding those big gears and pushing high power. Pre-work endorphins for the win!

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1486m swim: I joined my old swim group tonight for a workout focused on non-freestyle strokes and kicking. Basically, all my weaknesses in the pool. It was a fun workout, and even though I had to use fins for much of the time, I felt the benefits of focusing on backstroke and my kick.

 

#twofertuesday

9km run: The last edition of #twofertuesday! Ragnar Niagara is this weekend, so this will be the last of the double running for a while. I covered 9km before work and it took me a while to come around. I ran around 5km before I felt human. Truthfully, I’m not sure I’ll ever be cut out for morning runs, but I won’t close the door on it completely.   

4km run: A short jaunt home that ended up being on the faster side, although not as fast as last week’s run home.

 

Wednesday

1486m swim: A lunch swim that I didn’t really have a ton of energy heading into, but I knocked out some ‘make the pace’ workouts with hard 150s. I surprised myself by doing more of these than I initially thought I could handle. I credit this to taking them one at a time mentally.

36km ride: Oh, hey, intervals! Tonight’s ride consisted of some blocks of work in my power zone 4.

 

Thursday

6km run: As in weeks past, by the time Thursday rolled around, I was feeling tapped out. This week’s exhaustion was mostly of the mental sort, though, and I did my 6km easy run without incident.

39 minutes strength: I tackled my strength workout immediately after my run. It started as a mental slog, but I came around, reminding myself that this is what makes me a stronger athlete. Also, I kept telling myself that a few wall sits and planks were all that stood between me and a rest day. 🙂

 

Friday

Rest. Glorious, glorious (scheduled) rest day.

 

Saturday

49.2km ride: My long ride was a mix of endurance blocks and some race pace work. I turned on “13 Reasons Why” and went to town, specifically Richmond…via Zwift, of course.

3.3km run: My usual run off the bike felt pretty good. We bumped it up to 20 minutes this week.

 

Sunday

50 minute run

40 minutes strength

Welp. Almost a perfect week. The day started with the best of intentions, of course. I volunteered at the Sporting Life 10k this morning, and fully intended to do my run and strength in the afternoon once I got home and settled. I really underestimated how much energy that would take. I was standing in the same place for 4.5 hours and in the sun at times. When I got home, I was completely exhausted. Once we had eaten a celebratory lunch (Ryan ran a PB at the race!), I came home and passed out for the better part of the afternoon/evening. I peeled my cranky self off the couch long enough to go get some groceries, but didn’t move much. I also had a nagging headache, which I assume came from standing around in the sun and maybe being a little dehydrated. I had an amazing time volunteering at the race, even though I spent the evening being a complainypants.

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The Sporting Life finish line after the race

Swim: 2,972m/1:16

Bike: 117.2km/3:51

Run: 22.3km/2:13

Strength: 0:39

Total Time: 7:59

 

I could get hung up on Sunday’s missed workouts, but I won’t. I probably should have spent some more quality time with my yoga mat and foam roller, as well. There were things to be proud of last week, like another high volume (for me) week of cycling.

My coach made an interesting observation this week. Although I thought my running had been progressing nicely in terms of pace, Coach PK pointed out that it had been a very long time since I had reported feeling ‘fresh’ on my runs, and maybe we need to revisit my heart rate zones. My heart sank a little (har, har) at the thought of doing another lactate threshold heart rate test, but if my zones do indeed need to be adjusted to avoid fatigue, so be it. Read: PK, please don’t make me do another one of those tests. Just kidding. Sort of.

On to the meat of the post. It’s no secret that I’m a Type A, all-or-nothing kind of personality. I’ve talked about it on here before, and my efforts to let go of perfection, particularly as I train for triathlon. My thoughts have been percolating about this for a while, and I was being extra hard on myself Sunday as I was laying about, barely able to move after my morning of volunteering. This was my inner dialogue after I woke up from my first nap.

 

“Ugh. You need to get up and run.”

“Girl, you lost your marbles? You can’t even get up for a glass of water.”

“It’s just 50 minutes. Plus, it’s a long run. Nice and slow for you to recover.”

“My head hurts.”

“Yeah, but you won’t die. You might even feel better.”

“Nah. You’re also supposed to do strength work after. If you have to prioritize one of the two, you should choose strength.”

“Why choose? You can have both. Get your ass off the couch.”

“Or you could stay here and rest, and feel better in the morning.”

“You need to learn to work through fatigue. How are you ever going to progress to long-distance triathlon if you can’t handle a build week in your plan? Are you really doing enough?

“Burn in hell.”

 

Fall back to sleep. Repeat a couple more times over the course of the night.

All in all, not a very productive conversation with myself. Not only that, it was quite clearly an indication of my body asking for some rest after I had spent the day on my feet in the sun. I wasn’t wrong – I do, in fact, need to learn to work through fatigue. However, there is a limit to this. I ultimately ended up giving into the fatigue and resting for the evening. Not without a major guilt trip, though. Look back even on how I recapped my day on Sunday above: “Almost a perfect week…I spent the evening being a complainypants.” Good grief, woman. Relax.

I compared (red flag right there) how I felt during marathon training versus triathlon training. Granted, I have had a couple of rough marathon training cycles, but for the most part, when I was fully dedicated, training for distance running had treated me well.

Nothing got in the way of my workouts during marathon training, full stop. Invited to a night out with friends? Long run in the morning. No can do. Errrrrrrrm, wait a minute. Can do, but only having one glass of wine, and have to be home by 9. Oh, and we need to eat at a restaurant that has pasta. Weekend at a friend’s cottage? Tune-up race that weekend, sorry. I eventually let up a little bit and found that I could, in fact, maintain some semblance of a social life while training hard.

However, that approach to triathlon training has not seemed to work for me, at least not so far. I continued to puzzle over why. Then, the obvious dawned on me: I’m trying to train for three sports instead of one, plus strength training. This is completely new territory and, as a result, I’m constantly questioning myself.

Am I exercising enough? Am I sleeping enough? Am I making enough time for my relationships? Am I eating enough? Am I eating too much? Am I swimming enough? Am I doing enough strength work? Am I doing enough in general? Can I do more? Am I giving 100% to all aspects of my training?

Oof. Deep stuff for an endurance athlete, right? Understandably, asking myself all of this at once (which I am definitely guilty of) has caused some anxiety. Deep down, I know the answers to all of these questions. The logical part of me knows that, right now, with my current circumstances, I truly am giving everything I can to my training. It’s not the picture perfect, zero-missed-workouts-ever routine that my occasionally perfectionist self demands and all other progress be damned, but I’m hanging in there.

I really haven’t been training for triathlon long enough to fully assess how it impacts my life. I’ve told myself on more than one occasion, “You can’t even handle this training load. How will you ever train for an Ironman?” (Yes, I have aspirations of taking on long course in the future) It really is not a fair criticism to make of myself right now, though. I’m just getting started with triathlon. When I was less than a year into training for long distance running, I wasn’t constantly saying, “You can’t even handle this training load. How will you ever train for a marathon?” No, I ate the elephant one bite at a time.

So, why haven’t I been able to apply this mindset to triathlon training?

I’m not really sure, to be honest. There is the obvious argument that there are three times as many sports, therefore three times as much training (loose interpretation there, but I was going for a bit of alliteration. Humour me, won’t you?), so I simply have to adjust to a higher training volume and manage other parts of my life accordingly.

I haven’t figured it all out yet. What I have figured out, though, is that I truly do not believe in balance when it comes to this stuff. When people talk about work-life balance, training-life balance, etc., I don’t buy it. One thing will always take priority over another, and I believe that we conflate that with balance. A push-pull, if you will. When there is a break in my personal life, I give more to training. When there is a break in training, I give more to my personal life. And so it goes. While some call that balance, I picture balance as giving equally to all things all the time. Perhaps this mindset is contributing to my near-constant feeling of not giving enough to my training – I haven’t yet made peace with the push and pull of such a high volume of training.

And why should I expect it to happen overnight? It could take a few training cycles before I truly get the hang of this. I’m not sure I will ever feel human when the alarm blasts at 5 a.m. to get out of bed and swim. I’m not sure I will ever be cut out for early morning running. I’m not sure I will ever be a truly happy run commuter. But I’m sure trying hard to fit it all in, and experimenting with my workouts. I won’t know if I’m a morning runner or not until I give it a fair shot. If I’m going to train for multisport, I’ve got to see what works best for me. It’s no longer a question of isolating an hour after work to get my run in and then I’m done for the day.

Which brings me back to my big question: Am I doing enough? The answer is yes. Could I be doing more? Ask me in a week or two, and the answer will probably still be yes. My right now will be different next week, if that makes sense, allowing me to give more. Or maybe give less. I’m not really sure. But, right here and right now, yes. I am (doing) enough.     

Have you ever felt like you weren’t giving enough to your training? How did you work through it? Any big PBs over the weekend?

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