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Enough Now

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Anyone else have a wife who’s favorite Christmas movie is Love Actually?  Okay, it really is a pretty good movie… for a sappy Christmas movie…  I think I’ve seen it a dozen times or so.  There’s one quote that always sticks with me (and, conveniently it’s in the YouTube clip above).  Andrew Lincoln’s character is silently obsessed with Keira Knightley’s character throughout the movie.  She’s his vice.  In the clip above, he gets his kiss, and then says “Enough.  Enough now”.

I can hear his voice over and over in my head.  Enough.  Enough now.

No, I’m not secretly courting Keira Knightley (though props to him for his taste).  I’m shaking off my vice.  I’ve had my forbidden kiss, and it was good.  And now it’s time to get on with it.

Enough now.

My vice has been falling off the fitness wagon.  And what a good fall it’s been.  I’ve spent the past few months doing nothing related to training, or fitness, or healthy eating whatsoever.  I’ve tried to get back on the wagon several times.  I went through my 5 stages with grief, and sure enough ended with Acceptance.  I struggled for a while, feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing two-a-days, 5 days a week.  That I was writing training plans with 90 minute bike rides that my body just didn’t want to do.  I kept thinking to myself: I shouldn’t need to recover – it’s not like I worked particularly hard this season…

But compared to what (or whom)?  Compared to a pro, who does this for a living?  Compared to other fitness bloggers?  Or other friends of mine?  I’m surrounded by people who run daily.  Should I compare myself to them?

How about compared to myself?  Last year I did race 2 Olympic races for the first time ever.  I started training in January for a July race.  I pushed hard, did two-a-days several days per week (and beat my self up when I missed some of those workouts, which I often did).  Maybe I needed a break?  I think more than my body, my mind needed a break!

I needed to let myself take a few months off from the training routine.  I needed to take some time from the early morning alarms, the ever constant twitter feeds and media training advice (and yes, the blogs).  I needed to step away from the gym and organized races alike – to exercise when I felt like it, not when the schedule said so.  And I fought that for a while, feeling guilty for rolling over when my morning alarm went off.  It took a while to come to embrace the break – my vice – and stop trying to keep a routine.  I’ve been setting my alarm a bit later, enjoying a bit more pizza and beer, and letting myself relax a bit more.  It’s been really amazing!

Enough.  Enough now.

TTF

Today I signed up for the 2015 Toronto Triathlon Festival.  Entry fee has been paid.  I did the Olympic distance race last year, and really enjoyed it (despite the terrible weather, which they can’t control).  I’m looking forward to tackling the Olympic course again in 2015.

But right now I’m really just excited to have signed up for something.  To have committed to something.  To have a goal to work towards.  And maybe I won’t plan two-a-day sessions or 5 training days per week right out of the gate.  But I’ll accept the break as having been needed and beneficial, and as now being over.  It’s time to get back to work.

Enough now!

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Rest Day is the Best Day

May 1, 2014 2 comments

worn out

I find it interesting, in a frustrating kinda way…

When I do a tough swim training session, I feel the effects almost immediately.  Within hours, my arms, back, shoulders, and chest are all tired and lethargic.  I feel gassed quickly, but I bounce back pretty quickly…

When I do a tough bike or run session, I feel a bit tired afterwards, but the muscular soreness and stiffness doesn’t kick in usually until the next morning.  My legs get tired, particularly my hamstrings, and I find myself waddling around the office more than walking the next day…

When I do a tough strength training session, my body skips a day.  I feel great right after (which sometimes leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  I usually feel great the next day (which definitely leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  But two days later, it’s as if a time bomb went off on my limbs.

Boom!

I don’t get it.  at.  all.

On a possibly related note, somehow I managed to go the entire month of March AND the entire month of April – up until Tuesday April 29th – not having done a single strength training session.  How I let that happen is beyond me [Note to self: Tracking your workouts is only useful if you look back at your progress and notice trends like these].  Tuesday I got back at ‘er.  Wednesday, of course, I felt great.  Today: Boom!  Big Time!  I feel like I’ve been hit by a bulldozer!

I did have workouts scheduled for today.  They all just got moved to tomorrow.  Listening to my body > Mindlessly following a training plan on paper.  Today is now a rest day.  I’m kinda excited to go home from work tonight with no plans to workout whatsoever!  Rest Day is the Best Day!

… and hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be able to walk without looking like a penguin.  Fingers crossed!

[Edit:  Ok – I do get it – all kinds of different muscle groups and different energy systems and delayed onset muscle soreness and all that jazz.  I know there’s science behind this stuff… it’s not actually a magical bomb going off…]

Today’s a Couch kinda day

April 5, 2014 Leave a comment
Not Today!!

Not Today!!

Today is a Couch kinda day!

weather140405

I appreciate that my training plan has a long run scheduled for today.  That’s nice.  But it’s not gonna happen.  Winter just doesn’t seem to want to go away.  It’s cold outside again today, and there’s a new dusting of snow on the ground.  Plus, I have the house to myself.  If ever there was a day to sit on the couch in my sweatpants, with a blanket and a Harry Potter book, this is it!  Especially since the rest of the week looks so much better:

weather140405b

That’s right.  Tomorrow is going to feel 19° warmer than today.  19 whole degrees!  And be sunny!  I think my long run can wait a day, don’t you?

What would you do with a sudden day off to yourself?

Being Realistic

January 2, 2014 9 comments

worn out

I’m pooped!

So many people make New Years resolutions to ‘get healthy’ or ‘work out’ or ‘lose weight’.  And they all show up to the gym on January 2nd.  And I was right there with them this morning.

The alarm went off at 5:15, like it does every training morning, and my wife and I were at the gym by the time it opened at 6:00.  #Proud!

After changing, the first thing I did at the gym was step on the scale.  It was then that the full impact of the Christmas break hit me: I’m 6lbs heavier than when I last went to the gym, only 2.5 weeks ago.  That’s 6lbs of Christmas cookies, turkey and gravy, chocolates, and beer.  That’s 2.5 weeks of largely sitting on my ass (okay – I did spend 1 day skiing at Mt. Tremblant… and I had a pretty nasty head cold for half of that time… but after that I’m running out of excuses).

I’ve got a lot of work to do!!!

GetOffTheCouch

The problem is – it’s the new year.  It’s 2014.  I’m Gung-Ho!  I’m determined to start the new year strong!  I’ve got my 2-a-day training plan all mapped out.  I’ve got my new words for 2014 to inspire me.  I’ve got my new copies of The Time Crunched Triathlete and One Hour Workouts by my bedside (both Christmas gifts from my Mother-In-Law – will have to do a review post at some point soon).  I’m ready to hit it harder than ever before!!

… but my body isn’t.  My body remembers the 2.5 weeks off.  My body remembers all those cookies and gravy (not together though… gross).  My body hit it hard this morning, and is now in complete revolt!  Ouch!!!

One of my words for 2014 is Consistency.  And if I’m going to consistently hit my training plan, I need to be realistic in my planning.  I can’t do a 2-a-day, mid-season-intensity plan right now (nor should I, probably).  I’ve sat on my ass for the past few weeks!  I can’t jump back in and dial up the tempo on the treadmill.  I’m carrying an extra 6lbs of cookies!!

The fitness will come back.  The couch and junk food holiday is over now, but I can’t fix it all in one day.  And if I want to be consistent – and I do – I need to be a bit more realistic about my plan.  That extravagant training plan is going to need some… adjustments.  Maybe I won’t try to dive straight into 2-a-days (and maybe also I’ll have a salad for lunch today).  The alarm is going off at 5:15 again tomorrow morning – I’ll be back at it.  Consistently training, albeit a bit more realistic about the intensity 😉

But first, a nap might be in order when I get home tonight…

How is your 2014 starting out?

Sidelined

November 27, 2013 4 comments
bwahahahaha... oh the cubs...

bwahahahaha… oh the cubs…

Sunday night I suffered a concussion, playing rec volleyball of all things.  Who knew volleyball was a contact sport?!? I don’t really remember the injury (although now, over 48hrs later, it’s starting to come back a bit).  My teammates tell me I took out the player beside me “like a linebacker”.  Sorry Jess!  Hope you’re okay.

I expected this meant I would have to take some time off physically.  I was ready for that, I guess… though I was pretty frustrated.  Last week was an amazing training week – from a consistency perspective, and from a results perspective.  I was feeling great.  I could see progress.  The last thing I wanted was to have to shut it down for a while… or I thought that was the last thing I wanted…

My MD prescribed 48hrs of “Complete Brain Rest“.  What is complete brain rest?  Her description was:

  • NO TV
  • NO Video Games
  • NO Computers
  • NO Bright Lights
  • NO Loud Noises
  • NO Reading (I was allowed to flip through a magazine, but only to look at the pictures, and only if the magazine didn’t interest me in any way – gee, thanks)
  • NO Movement (apparently getting up to use the bathroom was okay, but after get right back to bed)

In other words: Nothing.  Do Nothing!!  Nothing that requires any brain activity at all.  How terrible!!!  This was a whole new world to me.  I’ve had physical injuries before – when I hurt my ankle, I know to stay off of it.  The body reminds me to stay off of it.  When I get a flu or a cold, I know to try to sleep.  The body wants to sleep to recover.

The mind doesn’t know it needs to recover.  The mind wants to be active – to think, to be stimulated, to be entertained.  When I’m not sick I can only sleep for so many hours.  And when I’m awake, and can’t read, or watch, or listen, or move, the mind searches for anything to focus on.  This is why solitary confinement is used as a form of punishment.  I was so bored!!!  Thank goodness we have cats who are still kitten enough to chase things.  They were my source of entertainment

I cheated a bit.  I had to.  I had my phone on the table beside me.  I checked Facebook or Twitter a few times, and even turned on the radio once or twice just for distraction.  But each time the headache started to come back, so it never lasted long.

Doc was right on about her 48hr prediction.  As of last night I was able to move down to the couch and watch a few movies.  Today I’m trying to move around a little bit – slowly.  So far I’ve cooked breakfast, washed a few dishes, and now (obviously) have fired up the laptop.  Everything in small increments.  She said to start reincorporating activities, so long as there’s no symptom relapse, with the aim to be “back to normal” in 10-14 days.  My only other firm guidelines:

  • No driving for at least a week
  • No running or triathlon training for at least two weeks

I’m still really frustrated that my training schedule is thrown in the trash can.  But at least my period of Complete Brain Rest is over.  Not being able to move is a real PITA.  Not being able to use my mind is a whole different limitation.  I really hope this thing heals up quickly.

 

The Dog Days of August

August 14, 2013 7 comments

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?

Taking A Break

June 17, 2013 Leave a comment

takingabreak1image credit

I’ve stumbled upon an unintentional extended rest period.  Essentially, I’ve stopped training.  Cold turkey.  Full stop.  Oops.

(okay – I did jump on the indoor exercise bike at the gym for a 1hr session once last week… does that count?)

It occurred to me, while doing nothing this past week, that I’ve been jumping from race to race – finishing one, “recovering” for a day or two, and then looking ahead to the next – since about early December last year when I first signed up for Around The Bay.  That’s not to say I’ve been perfectly diligent in sticking to my training schedule – FAR from it – but when I do fall off the wagon, I get pretty hard on myself.

fall-off-the-wagon

There’s always a next race.  And there’s always more work I could be putting in.  Let’s face it – this isn’t sustainable!

I think I mentally hit a wall.  Coming off the Binbrook Triathlon last weekend, and looking ahead to Tour de Waterloo only 14 days away (now this coming weekend) I think the body threw up the white flag.

I’ve had a nice week off.  Sure, there were several times when I looked at my training plan and thought I should be out there running, or biking, or doing anything that remotely resembles productive training.  But those thoughts were few and far between, and I really didn’t dwell on them much (or give myself much grief when they passed).  The body needed a break.  The mind needed a break.  I’ve let them both have it.

TakeABreakBuddy

In fact, I’m viewing this two week period as a mini reset before I dive into the next phase of races.  I’ll probably get in 2-3 sessions this week – light sessions, just to shake out the legs a bit, but nothing too taxing.  I’m really enjoying the thought of a well defined, guilt free break.

Of course, this means I won’t be going all out at this weekend’s Tour de Waterloo.  I’m more than okay with that.  My goals in singing up for this event were to experience a bike-only event, and to do a longer ride in a race-like environment, so the bike leg of my Olympic distance triathlon later this summer seems less long.  It’s now time to add another goal for this event: have fun!

tdw_icon

I’m actually not sure what to expect of this event.  I don’t know if it’s a race, or a casual charity ride, or something in between?  It’s chip timed, I know that, but is marketed as being very friendly to recreational riders.  I really like that.  And not to sound like I won’t push hard and work for the best time I can over the 70k distance – because I will – but I’m looking forward to a lighter event.  A fun event.

After this weekend I’ll reassess the training plan, and gear back into a full training schedule.  The race season isn’t over, and I have goals to achieve, and work to do to reach them.  But it’s nice to back off for a bit.  I think it’ll help me move forward.

Do you ever need to take a break from your goals/hobbies?

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