Monday, November 28, 2011

the fire is out

I had my turkey trot race recap all ready to go this morning, but I'm going to save it for tomorrow and instead talk about what's going on today.  I think I'm just a tiny bit burned out.  Or suffering from some pretty serious post-race blues.


My plan after Waterman's was to basically shut down the bike and concentrate on the run for the 5 weeks leading up to Richmond.  After Richmond, I was planning on taking two weeks almost completely off to get rested and ready to jump in with my new coach on December 1.  But then things went a bit screwy.  I got sick, and I took 3 days off, but I spent those 3 days a) sick and b) stressing out about what to do about the race.  Once I decided to bag Richmond and run Philly, I jumped back in - probably just a hair too soon - to squeeze in a few runs before race day.  I'm completely happy with the decisions I made going into the race, but I definitely didn't consider the ramifications of pushing back the race on my recovery.  


I ran Philly on Sunday.  On Monday I did 20 no-resistance minutes on the spin bike and then maybe as many as 6 laps of kicking in the pool to shake my legs out and help flush out the crap - this is my pretty standard day-after-a-race routine.  Tuesday, completely off.  Wednesday, a not-short-but-not-long-and-definitely-not-hard swim, but one that set my funky shoulder twanging and it's been irritating me more than a little ever since.  Thursday, 40 easy no-resistance minutes on the trainer (latest House episode to watch).  Friday was the first day I did a "regular" workout, and it was a fairly short ride with some intervals just to get my HR up a bit.  I was thrilled to be back on the bike, which was a good feeling because I've been dreading it lately, and the ride didn't tire me at all, but by Friday night I was feeling pretty blah.  Blah enough to be in bed before 9 on a night when I didn't have to get up until 8 the next morning.  I ran the turkey trot Saturday morning and was thrilled to be running, but once that race itch was satisfied, I was back in the dumps.  Sunday was a gorgeous and unseasonably warm day, and I had no plans other than Christmas tree decorating.  Saturday night I started considering what I'd like to do on Sunday afternoon - a medium-long ride and a swim - and I just felt drained and flat.


So instead, I watched some movies, I read a book, I went Christmas shopping with the poet, and we made spaghetti for dinner.  I didn't get on the bike or in the pool, and I definitely didn't even think about running.  I don't think this is a long-term blah - after walking around outside and being out of the house for a while, I started to feel a bit more chipper.  But I think that I need some more recovery time before jumping into IM training.  I'm hoping to pow-wow with my brand-new coach once she's done recovering from the very serious ass she kicked yesterday at Ironman Cozumel (and hopefully before she reads this.....), but I think I need another week off to recharge my batteries a bit.  And then to ease back in instead of doing a header straight into 15-20 hours a week of swim/bike/run.  


We're going to Key West this weekend to defend our relay title from last year.  I'm hoping that lots of recovering this week - good recovering, with healthy eating and vegetables and lots of sleep and maybe some light yoga and not too much beer - plus a vacation trip that includes a fun, no-pressure triathlon will get me pumped to jump into IM training.  I do know that if I get started down the path that is going to end up in Idaho next June with anything less than "ridiculously excited" as my mojo, it's going to be a long and tough cycle and I'm not going to make it.  


And more importantly - I'm trying to remember that I do this for fun.  I'm not a pro, and I never will be.  It's not my job, it's something I do because I'm absolutely in love with the sport, and I want to make sure that I keep loving it.  When I was training for Waterman's, I was so pumped to get my workouts every day, and to go out and execute them perfectly, to a T, to the heart beat.  I couldn't wait to bust ass and then rush home and upload my workouts to my coach with a note that said, "completed perfectly as described!"  I'm not excited like that right now.  Instead, I don't even want to look.  I'm dreading it all, and that's not okay.  But I'm hoping that by recognizing it, like I did the last time I was feeling burned out, will be a big step towards being excited about it all again, being ready to work my ass off, being hungry and ready to eat all this fat aerobic training right up.  Because I want to rock this cycle hard, but right now my fire is out.  I see that, and I'm listening, and I just need to figure out how to find my way back.

28 comments:

  1. I think a week of rest followed by a weekend of totally just for fun racing, beaching, and drinking will get you back in the mood. Better to recognize burn-out now than go charging ahead unhappily!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think all of us feel a little burned out from time to time and I think that's perfectly normal. I'm feeling that way myself right now and did absolutely nothing this weekend besides watch a ton of tv.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beth is right. She's very smart, you know.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I personally think it can be tough to figure out what is a short term burnout that you need to push through, and when it is time for a break. Our college swim season was six months with maybe 2 weekends off the whole time. I would easily have a couple of weeks in there when I hated swimming, but I plodded through and it would pass. I think I wound up tapering better as a result.

    On the other hand, after championships, I wouldn't touch the pool for at least a week.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm feeling pretty much the same way. I'm hoping a little more recovery time will do the trick. I have a feeling that your fun trip may be just what you need to feel excited again (just like everyone else has already said).

    ReplyDelete
  6. What Beth said.

    Also, don't under-estimate the effect of the change of seasons. Everyone gets a bit blue and bummed out late Nov/early December because the days are so bleedin' short and the nights so damn long.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Consider it an early Christmas present that you recognize this and can put the brakes on now while you still can. A little chillin' out will do wonders for you, I'm sure!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I felt the SAME way last week. Even with no work and no plans, I just couldn't motivate off the couch. Listen to your body, it will thank you in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hang in there! I hate the down in the dumps phase of training, do some fun classes/strength training or nothing at all! You will be back soon!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good for you recognizing the signs and addressing them now.
    I really enjoyed my post marathon break from running: Week 1: 2 miles. Week 2: 3 miles. Week 3: 4.75 miles. This week I did all of 3 runs for 15 miles total. And I am itching to race now!

    Scott Jurek takes a whole month or two off every year wherein he cross-trains, but NO RUNNING. I think this is brilliant. It recharges you physically, but perhaps even more valuable, it gives you a complete mental break that leaves you raring to get back out there.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is going to be a great vacation! Go show them how it's done. The mojo will come back. I'm getting amped again too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think you are 100% correct on your assessment but would also like to ask you this:

    Are you nervous about IM training? It is going to be like nothing you have ever done before so there maybe some trepidation in going at it too. Combination of both?

    I know that I want to race this marathon and then do nothing as I'm getting tired too. Taper is perfect timing and then resting for two weeks before we start up again, but at the same time I'm thinking about this whole IM training and what is in store and it gets me nervous a bit. Makes me wonder about the burn-out factor and the Fear Factor (btw that is coming back......)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Have fun in Key West! It is probably just what you need to kick your blah feeling.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's so hard to know what to do -- I find that when I'm feeling a little less "hungry" for training than is normal, what works for me is NOT full rest (which makes me even more sluggish and blue) but just going into full on fun mode -- i.e. pick my favorite route on a gorgeous day, and just run with the goal of enjoying the heck out of it. But everyone's different.

    Here's to you getting your mojo asap.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Isn't she freaking amazing???
    Awesome sauce yesterday :)
    wonder if we can sherpa her in Kona???

    If you are feeling burned, truly take some time to recharge-I think she will agree. No sense in churning out the workouts if your mind and heart are not in it and I don't think and extra week is out of the question.

    Enjoy KW

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great post. Having the ability to recognize something like this instead of being on auto-pilot is very important. Recover well, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's the funny thing about fires - sometimes the embers just need a little oxygen and then before you know it the whole damn house is on fire! I can't wait to read all the upcoming training and race posts!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I would take it easy until the new year. Race for fun with no pressure. It will come back. You love the sport and that love isn't going anywhere. You just need a break to do normal life stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  19. If you find that fool-proof cure to the post-race burn-out, do tell! I've definitely been there, and just rode it out. It took a good month in my time, but we're all different! I have a feeling that coach of yours will know how to lite the fire, when she needs to ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. The first comment is the best comment. And my comment isn't even first. haha

    It has been a long season for everyone and no one can keep up with this crazy sport without some kind of break. Enjoy your fun week!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Blah. Yes, I know it well. In fact, I've felt blah for over a year…I'm starting to pull out of it, but its not easy. I'll be sending good thoughts and any spare mojo I find your way :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ohhh - it sounds like burnout. I DEFINITELY felt burnt out this year after Waterman's and EMBRACED it. LOTS of unhealthy food, very little working out (helped that I was in Africa with 100+ heat and nowhere to safely bike or run). I find if I OD on all of the things I don't normally let myself do during race season, soon enough I will be itching to be back in my old routine. Allow yourself to just relax and take time off - June is far enough away that you can afford a break right now :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I hope Key West is a blast and gets your fire back!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sounds like a fun race in Key West and a little "no pressure" time are JUST what you need! I think you'll know when you're ready to get after it again!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yeah, sounds like you need a little breather. Just take it, like you said you run because you love it. Jess

    runningtobeskinny.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. That last paragraph is super important. Please hit me over the head and read it to me when I'm behaving like an idiot and risking burnout.

    Now is the time to take a breather (and vacation in Key West?) -- you want to be all in when IM training starts :)

    ReplyDelete

COMMENTS. ARE. LOVE!