I will admit this has been a very overwhelming couple of months; I wouldn’t say that I’m struggling to get through each week, but … yeah I’m struggling to get through each week. Not specifically with training, but just with life, which can have obvious ripple effects on training.
I have started missing my Friday after work swims (because who wants to hit the gym after work on a Friday? nobody), and I pretty much refuse to do anything in the morning other then drink coffee, gaze at the fire, and do some writing. More and more I’m putting focus on taking care of myself; which means not pushing through when I’m feeling really exhausted. To be honest, this is usually more a mental exhaustion then anything. Physically, I feel really strong and ready to tackle the race.
It’s really easy for me to feel bad for not getting to everything on my todo list, but if I’m training for 12+ hours a week, I’m just not really going to have time to paint the basement. It’s just not going to happen.
There’s a fine line in there, between not pushing yourself enough and pushing yourself too much; between working as hard as you can and still enjoying the work, and burn out. I had major burnout from road racing back in 2008, when I got 35th overall in the OBRA Ironman (which is a joke…it’s basically who has raced the most throughout the year in the entire Oregon-wide bike racing organization).
While I raced plenty after that, I never trained much again. My results dwindled every single year, I was just tired. It became un-fun. I dropped out of road racing because you really do have to train to keep up; at least with mountain bike racing you can still enjoy the trail if you’re off the back.
So here I am, year one with Ironman, and I’m feeling the burn. I meant for my season to be over in August, but it’s late October and I’m 10 months into constant training (okay, I took a few months “off” but not really). It’s too much, and I just have to acknowledge that. Many plans are in the works for next year, but I think I’m going to aim to have my season completely finished around the start of fall.
This is a constant theme in my life (applying exactly the right amount of pressure without going overboard), and it’s one I really need to figure out, because the intense pressure I put on myself makes me hate things I previously loved.
So I’m babying myself a bit and saying “no” to everything except training and the necessities. Come November 21st, the day after the race, I’ll have about six weeks before January and we begin all of this again.