Countdown to Ironman: 8 weeks to go

7 01 2017

This week is a recovery week.

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That may sound like bliss with lots of nothing, but I still had a total of 11.5 hours of training in my plan. Not counting the two Group Power classes I was scheduled to teach.

Recovery weeks are vital to reducing the training load a little and allowing your muscles (and mind) some time to get over the fatigue it’s been through, and is about to go through in the coming weeks.

Our plans seem to work on a 3 or 4 week cycle of harder training followed by a recovery week. Given the success Coach seems to have at this game, I’m pretty confident he’s got the recipe right.

In the build up to the half, I wasn’t very good at taking rest days. Sometimes it was hard to fit everything in to the planned days, so I’d often swim on a rest day. I find this is the least stressful activity and is mostly upper body, leaving your legs alone a bit. But there’s always the mental aspect of motivating yourself to go. And I’m sure there is an element of fatigue that is still there.

The week started with New Year. Not so much “new me” as I don’t think I have time for resolutions right now. Except maybe to get more sleep.

Yeah. I’m not very good at that one!

But one thing I am going to resolve to doing better is respecting rest days.

One thing Coach has drummed home is that fatigue is there, whether you can feel it or not. Sometimes it’s deep down making it barely noticeable.

So while you might feel fresh as a daisy and ready for that extra workout (after all, the more you do, the better you’ll perform, right?), in actual fact, you might be doing more harm than good by adding to the fatigue.

It also means you get to sleep in a little later. This morning my alarm was set for 7am.

Yep.

On a weekday.

An alarm starting with 7!!

Aside from the rude awakening from Mother Earth at a little after midnight, that meant I had a good 7.5 hours sleep.

During recovery weeks I also grant myself a bit more leeway with the workouts if I’m not feeling it. Wednesday morning’s swim wasn’t going well. I felt fatigued and that my form was all off. I had 2400m scheduled but managed 1550m before calling it quits.

Something is better than nothing. Even if your Training Peaks goes amber instead of green.

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But it’s also better mentally.

There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to complete a workout that isn’t going well. It gets the mind playing games with you.

“Am I really up for this?”

“But will I even get out of the swim?”

“How will I manage 3.8kms if I can’t even do 2.4?”

I know I can do it. Just look at Monday when I managed 3.2kms. OK, so I haven’t done the full distance yet, but I know I can do another 600ms. Because I know how to pace myself.

One bad workout doesn’t wreck your whole plan. When the mind plays games, how you fight back is key at times like this.

Time to put up the defensive block and counter attack.

And I will win.

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