Week 17 – A week of Reflection
Totals for the week:
Totals so far:
Well as you can see from my totals, compared to the previous weeks, I was down on what I was supposed to have done. I have been feeling pretty exhausted for the last couple of weeks since I returned from the easter holidays, been fighting a bit of an illness that I trained through, and have been bordering on the edge of over-training. Whilst my body has been recovering enough to cope with all the training I put it through, mentally I was exhausted. I have been training for the last 17 weeks, with only a few days missed due to illness in the first 5 weeks, and have become so obsessed with logging all my mileage and clocking up training hours that I had forgotten to enjoy it. Training was becoming a chore, something I didn’t want to do, having to drag myself out of bed at stupid hours to squeeze a training session in before uni, or missing going out and seeing friends because I had to do some training in the evening. I had lost all balance in my life, to the point where I was going on home on friday for a few hours to see a surgeon about my knees, and had to take swimming and running kit so I could get my training in afterwards, then drive back to go out for one of my friends birthday. But I had no motivation to train, and wanted to spend time relaxing at home with my family and see my dogs. So I decided to take the day off training. Whilst I still regret this a bit, mentally I needed the break. Training for the Ironman is like having a job that you do 7 days a week, where you can never switch off, where you don’t go holidays or weekends and it is all consuming. This is the life of the athlete, but we all need a break at some point, so I am much happier taking one day off training, than burning out completely and not putting 100% into every training session. Training for countless hours a week on your own, with your goal miles off in the distance is hard, and ebbs away at your motivation. The one day off has given me the motivation to hit back into training again, restart my diet again to ensure I am eating the right amount (rather than too much or too little) and give everything to the last 13 weeks til D-Day.
Well now I have had my moment of self-reflection, it is time to look at the positives of the last week and ahead! This was still a week of milestones (bar 600m in swimming!), with (nearly!) hitting 100k of swimming, going over 2000k of cycling, and more than 500k in both running and commuting since I started this journey! That’s a lot of distance! The surgeon also diagnosed a case of mild runner’s knee, due to restricted movement in my hips, which is probably due to years of running. It turns out that the original pain in my knee (an imbalance in my VMO) was unrelated, and the ITBS was just due to a big increase in mileage. But over the last week or two, since replacing my trainers, I have had barely any pain whatsoever, so am very happy with that!
My speed work is also beginning to pay off in all 3 disciplines. In swimming, I was leading the lane at the last tri club session, not bad for someone who only started swimming properly in november! My cycling average speed is beginning to creep up, especially on my long rides, and I haven’t even got my race wheels yet! I have finally sorted a solid nutrition plan for the bike that appears to be working, and as a result, my running off the bike after long rides is getting easier and I am finding a good rhythm and good pace quickly after transition. My general running is getting quicker, as I appear to run further and further on my runs, with ever increasing high intensity work. I can also run longer and longer, and am still on track for a 3:30 marathon for the final leg.
This week ahead is finally race week! I am a person who trains to race, I live to race, which is why this journey has been another challenge with only 3 races to do over 9 months. Its a bit different to the racing every couple of weeks I was used to form rowing! It may only be a sprint race (I was ideally looking for an olympic distance race) but it will be good to practise transitions at speed, and put everything together. I am not expecting a very fast time as I have been training for long distances, and haven’t been concentrating on speed but it will be good to be back racing! My training tapers down towards the end of the week, and it could be the first time in about 17 weeks that I haven’t felt knackered! Bring it on!