Everyone knows its good to rest. In theory. How often though do you really apply this to yourself. Working with mums I hear it all the time. They come to my sessions tired, underslept, just basically worn out and I ask them if they sleep when they put bubs down. No, I get dinner on, I do the washing, I take the time to catch up on housework, or worst of all I check emails and facebook. Arrggghhh!
Your body just performs better when it is rested. As you may know I am in training for Lake Taupo 70.3. It’s a half ironman in New Zealand on the 13th December. I wont lie to you, I’m tired. Its quite normal to have ups and downs in your training and there are a couple of points in a 12 week program where your mind and body just don’t feel like they want to play anymore. This was me last week. I struggled through training. Slow, slow, slow. Swim was slow, runs were off and the ride, well lets just say I didn’t come close to my targets.
It was very discouraging especially looking down the barrel of a huge training weekend. Then something happened. I woke up Saturday morning, the weather was dodgy for riding up and down hills like I had on my program. I ummed and ahhed over what to do and next thing you know I was running to the loo with a tummy bug. So you know what I did? I went to bed. And stayed there all day. Literally all day. That night I had Florence and the machine tix which I wasn’t missing for love nor money so off I toddled in the rain to drink Vodka, sing, dance and feed my girl crush. Florence is a joy to behold.
Next day, you guessed it, I was pretty seedy from the Vodkas so had to rethink the swim and run session on my program. Instead I cooked up a storm for a bbq I had that evening for my sis who was in town and some old friends.
Yes I felt guilty and no I haven’t made up all the sessions yet but I’m halfway there. And guess what? I have hit my numbers, and performed very well this week so can only assume the rest has worked wonders.
We all get bitten by the busy bug. It’s sad that the art of resting has become so overlooked and under appreciated. People feel they have to fill every waking minute with ‘something’. I urge you all to have a rest. If you are feeling a bit run down, have a rest. When the baby sleeps, lie down, kick your feet up, read, sleep whatever just take some time out. When you hubby gets home, sit down together and chill for half an hour. If you are training hard to lose the baby weight and starting to feel a bit tired, have a day off and relax. Yes, relax. Don’t skip training to do the housework, that sucks and you wont feel rested.
Listen to your body. When it tries to tell you something, there is usually a reason. If you don’t listen or think you know better, it will end up demanding you listen by making you sick so you have no choice. Anyway I’m off for an athletes nap (you are allowed to call them that if you trained hard in the morning!).
I have done it again. Registered for another 70.3 Ironman race in September on the beautiful Sunshine coast. Cairns and Huskisson were so fun I thought I might give it another crack for a couple of reasons following:
1. The big fat hairy bodacious goal.
Lets face it, a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km half marathon is not really something you can show up on the day and wing it. You need to train. You need to set your sights on finishing well and perhaps even work out a goal time. Then you need to get the work done. You need to put your head down, bum up so to speak and just get to it.
2. Gives training a purpose.
I like to train for the sake of training and am the sicko that organises a run with my mates on my birthday over breakfast, well maybe before..! Either way I love to train. But when it gets cold, after an illness, after cortisone injections in your heels and lots of time lying on your butt well lets just say one loses a bit of motivation and inspiration. Training for a race gives your training a purpose.
Getting out of bed at 5am when its 7 degrees outside is more achievable. Moving those tired and protesting legs on the bike after a long run yesterday becomes more do-able. It changes your mind set on the swim on the mercy dash from your strip off to the pool through the through the bitter winter air. Knowing what you have to get done and doing it makes the work much more enjoyable.
3. You get to tick some serious shit off your list.
If you are a list maker, and best of all a item ticker, this kind of training is for you. Get a program done, lay it all out and just follow said program. Easy peasy. Then best of all you can tick them off as you go, feels kind of great and leads to the next point.
4. Great fun for number crunchers.
Count the hours, count the kilometres, track your progress, spend as much or as little time as you like perusing your stats on Garmin connect or other similar tracking programs in awe of well, your awesomeness!
5. The coffee after
I will admit I have been guilty of letting my mind wander off dreaming about and lusting for the post ride coffee on a couple of long hard rides early in the morning. I like my coffee but there is something extra special about it after a long hard ride. You can pay out on Mamils as much as you like, but I get it.
6. The athlete nap*.
If you are lucky enough to have a supportive husband and understanding kids like I do, you get to have the well-earned athletes nap on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon after your long ride or run. I think this is what makes it a fairly selfish sport and less family friendly than some sports because not only am I gone half the morning (or all of it) but then soon after finally getting home I pass out upstairs and leave them all to it again.
A nap without the work is a nanna nap and arguably suitable grounds for divorce. 😉
*Athlete naps are so called if you have trained hard in the morning and earnt that rest.
7. Don’t drink as much.
After Cairns 70.3 I took a break from triathlon and spent time catching up with work, friends and family and getting pretty piss fit. Everything was cause for celebration and a glass of something. Great fun, but have put on a bit of weight which is not comfortable on my runs (or my rides!).
Now in week two of training and by the end of the day I find I just don’t crave that glass of wine like I did. If I’m honest all I really want to do is hit the sack by about 8/8.30 so a glass of anything is not really on the agenda.
Also knowing I have to get up at 5 I really don’t want to risk feeling seedy from a drink. I’m feeling better and like I have lost a bit of weight, which will be more ideal for race day. So I would call this a win-win for now.
If you have never done a triathlon before I recommend to, its good fun and a very inclusive and supportive sport. For all the reasons above is also great for training and personal achievements.
Last weekend I finished my first long course triathlon in Husky. 12 weeks of training and preparation left me feeling ready to get on with it when the day finally came and I couldn’t wait to get started. A long course triathlon is a 2km ocean swim, 83km ride, and 20km run. My only goal was to finish strong and happy. And I achieved this. I had a ball. Of course there were snapshots on the run that hurt like hell, and getting kicked in the jaw on the swim was no picnic but these escape your mind as soon as you cross the line, or finish that leg even.
In my head I broke the race down into sections and had one goal for each. Not big lofty goals but just get it done goals and I think it paid off. The swim is not my favourite leg and I can get spooked if caught in the middle of the pack and feel trapped. So I decided not to ‘race’ it but to just swim the distance on the outside and just approach it calmly. It worked, my time was fairly slow at 40 minutes but I came out happy, which set me up for a good bike leg.
My goal on the bike was to try and keep a steady but firm pace for all three 28km laps. I was using a friends race wheels too and the sweet spot was 32km/hr so my aim was to sit over that as much as I could (when not going up hill anyway!!)
I have grown to love the bike but it’s not my strongest leg. Quite the contrary, as often I drop several places on the bike leg. At Husky though I maintained pace for the first two and even got faster on the third lap, yeeha! But best of all I only dropped one place which is my best result ever on the bike. Happy days.
Now to my favourite leg, the run. This is where I usually pick up a few places and really hit my straps. Husky was no exception, although a 20km run after a long fast ride was a bit more challenging than past efforts. What can I say except it bloody hurt, the view was amazing -its my favourite run, the cheering from my team mates was heartwarming and inspiring, I gained 4 places and loved giving my daughter and hubby a high five in the finish chute. It was fantastic. I couldn’t get the smile off my face. Even as I chomped my way through half a watermelon and several cups of coke I was grinning from ear to ear. My eldest daughter was in the finish area too and was beaming at me which made the experience all the better.
The whole experience was the best one I have had to date with any of my fitness pursuits. Working for a big goal and getting there is truly satisfying. Seeing and feeling what your body is capable of when you give it the right prep is awesome. But the main thing that gets you there is your mindset. You have to decide to get up in the morning and train. You have to decide to ignore the pain and keep pushing. You have to tell yourself over and over you CAN do this. Especially in that last 10kms on the run, or last section of whatever goal you set yourself. I only finished that race because my body just did what my mind told it to.
What are you going to tell your body to do next?
This last weekend I participated in the biggest triathlon in the southern hemisphere – the Noosa triathlon. It was my first time at this event and boy did it deliver on the wow factor.
People came from far and wide, each with their own story, varying abilities and fitness levels, first timers, 10th timers, big bold goals, and major motivations to finish this, one of the flashiest most exciting triathlons there is on offer. My age group was one of the largest, women 40-44, from what I could tell most with children either at home or on the sidelines cheering mum on.
Transition was like bike porn. There were huge wads of money dressed up in shiny bike frames and flashy race wheels. It was mind-blowing. If not a little embarrassing as I set my very ordinary roadie up next to one of the top of the line Trek bikes that I can only dream about owning one day. Sighhhh..!
An Olympic distance triathlon is a 1.5 km swim, 40km ride and 10 km run. Its hard to wing this one, you need to train. Train I did, but by the time the race spun round I felt like I should have done more. When I was racing, especially on the hot run, I realized that I should have done more. But I also had a fantastic, enlightening, invigorating, and empowering realization. I could not have done more. The last few months have been incredibly hectic for me. My daughter broke her leg and has needed a lot of help with a lot of life stuff. 6 weeks later it was still broken so we needed to recast it and have another two weeks. I have joined a new business mentoring group which is fantastic and motivating but has a solid time commitment each week too. As much as I benefit from this its time to find each week. I have also started to write a book. I have a 1000 words a day challenge so the only time I can do this is at 4.30 in the morming most days, before early clients or my training. These things on top of the regular demands of working in and running my own business, raising two girls and meeting all their needs and commitments and trying to squeeze in a conversation or two with my poor neglected husband and life has been crazy busy these last few months.
So yes I felt a bit underprepared. To cater to Kate and her appointments I had to miss some training sessions. To just stop and have dinner with my husband once or twice I also missed a swim squad or two. To have breakfast with my daughter before she left for school camp for a week I also missed a run session. I would usually feel guilty missing training and I know I am definitely happier days when I train earlier but my family needed me, and lets be honest I needed the time with them too. Some mornings at 5.30 I had been on a roll with my writing so skipped a ride to do 2000 words that day.
The swim was long. In my first few strokes I stroked straight through a snake! Oh good god, just keep swimming. Where are the frigging buoys? How long is this swim?
Ok now that’s over, lets hit the bike. Come on legs work.
Wow this is fun, what a great course. Oh this is awesome. What pretty forest. Hill, that’s not a hill, have you been to lilyfield rd? weeeeeeeeeee! Hey I think only two people in my age group overtook me, tops! Oh shit is that the finish line already? Awesome now lets hit the run.
Now bear in mind I consider myself a runner first and triathlete second so I always look forward to the run. So off I went to the following dialogue.
Cool, nice pace Joan keep up the good work.
This isn’t too bad actually, not bad at all.
Oh, hang on, its pretty hot.
Oh dear what if I have to walk. How embaressing.
Oh good lord its hot.
Shit here come the bricks.
Ouch. Shut up legs. Ouch. Shut up heart.
What actually hurts Joan? Yes but its bearable just keep going.
I should have trained more
Have to train more before the next race.
Shut up legs.
Oh no! I really need to go to the toilet.
Its only 6 k’s just keep running.
Stuff this I’m going back to running.
Oops no, I really need to go or I’m going to wet myself.
How about those bushes.
Or those bushes.
Half way – woohoo!!!
Could I go into the servo?
Down by the bank.
Do I care who sees my bum?
Thank god a portaloo.
Go go go, oh shit someone is in there…
ooooohhhhhh, what a relief!
Ok let’s go, no excuses now lets finish this mofo.
Doo doo doo.
Oh shit who put that dirty big brick wall in the middle of the path? Ouch.
Legs? Hello legs?
Loving those sprinklers, thanks guys.
Oh that poor woman she has a mud beard.
Hey 7kms, only three to go. Woohoo!
I should have trained more.
Well you know what Joan, I disagree. You have been really busy. You have a lot on your plate. You trained the best you could. You made some choices. You are nearly finished a book for goodness sake. Kates leg is better. She is happy now. Its onwards and upwards for her and you from here on in. You rock! You are in Noosa with your family and some lovely friends running in a beautiful race, you are one lucky bugger. You have a LOT to be grateful for, least of all your ability to do this MOFO race in the first place. Far out you are awesome. Life is awesome. Woohoo, lets fucking finish the best you can. Go.
Set some goals and enjoy the journey of getting there. Its not about the result its about you. It makes training more focused and fun. Finishing gives you a feeling of achievement and a sense of pride that you cant get anywhere else.
The celebrations afterwards with your friends are enjoyable too!
So the best result for me was not my PB on the bike , or to keep swimming after the close encounter with my swimming scaled friend, but the spin from quite negative to positive self-talk. The self-congratulations and realization that I had done the best I could with the choices I made and was more than a good result. I’m ecstatic.
Most mums I’ve met could benefit from being a bit nicer to themselves and drowning out their negative self talk. Book an event and get started on your journey today. If you need help with your training program give me a hoy, I would be more than happy to see you achieve your goal.