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The Dog Days of August

bautistaencarnacinimage from Drunk Jays Fans

I’m a huge baseball fan – a huge Blue Jays fan (at this point in the season, I may be the only one left).  I often hear the term “The Dog Days of August” referred to in baseball context as a tough part of the season – the fatigue of having played ball every day (essentially) for 5 straight months, combined with the heat of August, and the horizon of post season (the finish line) just a month away.

I think I’ve found my own Dog Days of August.

In 2011 I raced a single sprint triathlon in September of that year.  I started training for it, in earnest, in July of the same summer.  That summer I could hardly run a mile, and sure as shit complained if I had to run two.  I was almost 40lbs heavier than I am today.  I “trained” (though in hindsight, I really just “occasionally exercised”) over a 2 week period, ran my race, and then shut it down.

In 2012 I raced the same triathlon.  This time I started training in June, and with a bit more regularity (albeit with the same general lack of purpose) for 3 months.  I took a few weeks off after before turning to a Run Only program and raced my first 10k running race in early November.

2 months of work in 2011.  5 months of work in 2012.

2013 has been a whole different story.  Beginning with a half marathon in February and followed by a 30k run in March, I’ve raced 6 races already this season, with another 3 planned in the next 5 weeks.  I started training in December 2012, 9 months ago and – other than missed sessions – I really haven’t given myself much of a break.  And further to the length, I’m training with purpose now.  I’m doing more than simply shuffling for a few miles – I’m planning a training routine, mixing up strength training with swimming, biking, and running.  Doing short speed work as well as long endurance work.

I’m exhausted.

worn out

And yet, really, in the world of triathlon training, I’m not doing all that much.  I’m still only training 5-8hrs/week.  But it’s a lot more, for a lot longer, and a lot more intense than it was before.

This is my dog fight.  My dog days of August.  When the summer is hot and the legs are tired, and the finish line is on the horizon.  No amount of sleep seems to be enough.  No amount of food seems to be enough.  I feel like I’m in a constant fog, and my friends and family have noticed.

4.5 weeks until my ‘A’ race, my first Olympic distance triathlon.  In between I have a pair of warm-up races: a 1,500m swim only race this weekend to experience 1,500m in open water with other racers, and a sprint distance triathlon the following weekend to focus on my brick run in a race setting.  It’s time to dig deep – deeper than I’ve had to dig before.  This is my dog days of August.  This is my chance to finish my season strong and proud, and show how far I’ve come, and what I can do.

If only I could do it on a little more sleep.  Wouldn’t that be nice…

Have you ever felt like you were in your ‘Dog Days of August’?  How did you push through?

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  1. sweatingforit
    August 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    5-8 hours a week is nothing to look down on! That’s a lot of hours spent training, especially on top of a job and family responsibilities. I’m interested to hear about your Olympic training and race since I’m doing my first Olympic 7 weeks from now.

    • August 15, 2013 at 9:18 am

      My training plan calls for 10-11 hrs/week, but I don’t hit everything (it’s usually the morning strength sessions that get missed). I’m just too tired at this point, but maybe going easy on lifting at this time of year isn’t all bad. Good luck with your Olympic race this fall too!!!

      • sweatingforit
        August 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

        You should check out the book Time Crunched Triathlete. It’s been a game changer for me.

      • August 15, 2013 at 5:55 pm

        I think I’ll add that to my off season reading list. Thanks 🙂

  2. August 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I think we can all relate on some level to you, training for an endurance event can be just that; an endurance event. Just keep in mind that a rest day (or week) every now and then is beneficial in the long run.

    I am a little jealous as my race season came to an end this past weekend. Good luck with the rest of your training.

    • August 15, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Hope your race went well. Enjoy the rest that comes with the off season. I’m not far behind you!

  3. August 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Good post. As my ‘A’ race isn’t til October, and I took July off as a triathlon racing month(still trained 10-15 hours a week though) I think September will be my dog days as everything will ramp up to the end of my season in October. September will be busy with a 5k run race, 15k run race, 48 mile bike event and finished off with a sprint triathlon and then the first week of October is another 5k. Two weeks from that is go time for my first Olympic. We will see how I hold up in September. I am wishing you luck on your Olympic and curious to see how it goes. Keep up the good work, no matter how much or how little listen to your mind and body and adjust accordingly my friend,.

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