No doubt about it, taking on an ultra distance challenge definitely tests many aspects your life – mind, body and soul. This past week I felt incredibly drained. I think my body was like “yup, time for you to take a BIG rest!” Guess what? I did just that…as I really had no choice.
I did what is called “active rest” for a whole week. I didn’t even bother looking at my training plan. I needed to escape from the structure. I still swam, biked and ran but all as a free bird, no heart rate monitors or Garmin, no structured routine, NO EXPECTATIONS. I cut my workouts shorter, stripped the intensity down, and excluded double or triple workouts. I also fed my body good nutrients, got extra sleep, and even had some social fun. And on my big rest day, there was no activity as I pretty much laid on the couch all day in fuzzy pink jammies. Ahhhhhhh…
During this big rest period, I decided to review all of what I have done up to this point. I asked “how can I make the next 10 weeks successful?” These next 10 weeks are crucial as it is the final leg of my competitive training before I start to taper (oh Dear Lord, give me strength!). It’s definitely an asset to be a personal trainer with 12 years experience as I know exactly what to look for in my training plan. I had to step outside myself and look in to find my training errors, what I could do better, and so forth, pretending I was a client giving advice to and helping them become the best they can be. I had to take myself seriously. And as I answered my own questions, became honest with myself, I think I may have succeeded in designing myself a new 10 week plan. This new plan is based on my current plan (http://www.trifuel.com/triathlon/ironman-workouts/), advice from Jason, some great information I gathered from researching “how to run a better ironman marathon” (http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/triathlon/how-to-nail-the-ironman-marathon.aspx and http://www.coachgordo.com/gtips/endurance_essentials/coaching_ironman_athletes.html) and my old training logs from the Bridgetown Long Course race I did two years ago where I felt fantastic. My new plan will be tested for 4 weeks, then I’ll assess myself in which the KEY question will be “how am I feeling physically and mentally?” If my plan is working, the answer will be “I am feeling freakin fantastic!” and it will be the truth. If I’m lying to myself, then I change it again.
I have to remember that this is the first time I’m doing an ultra distance event. It’s not the same as training for a Sprint or Olympic length triathlon. And although I have two long course triathlons under my belt, that’s still only 50% of the iron distance. Ultra distances are a different thing all together and so while I’m excited to gain this experience, I really want to learn as much as I can along the way so I can share positive information with others. I want to be successful, and for me that means crossing the finish line feeling good about everything. I don’t care how long it takes me, it’s not speed that will determine my happiness, it’s the journey that matters most. I want to feel good and for now on I’m going to do whatever it takes to make that happen, even if it means quitting a scheduled training session when I’m feeling tired. So here I go, moving onward. Today is the first day of my new plan. I’m feeling fresh, rested, and ready to roll!