Another post for your reading pleasure. Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages after Bintan. It really means the world to me to receive your messages of support. I just wanted to say that I didn’t mean for the last race report to sound like I was unhappy or unsatisfied. I had a blast at the event and am proud of my result. Since returning though, the focus has shifted to Sunny Coast 70.3. I actually cannot believe that it is next weekend. I am excited to head back to the Sunshine Coast or as I like to call it ‘God’s Country’ and am even more excited to catch up with so many friends, especially Mike Robinson and the Taupo crew (Matho, Scottie, Cam, Simon and Azza.) I took a week off after Bintan (mostly forced because I had to help my Grandad relocate over 1000kms and it took a few days to get him there) and was back into the training on Monday. I was fresh and ready to really put in some high quality work in the lead up to the event. I mean by this point, the fitness is there. It is more about tapping a little speed to make sure I am sharp on race day.
Monday came and I was right back into it a hard run of 30 minute warm up followed by 20x3 min around race pace with a 1 min recovery jog in between. The run turned out to be 27km and I thought that after a week off I would be fresh and ready to go. Now normally I am a person who really struggles to reach the same speeds in training that I do when racing. I can run a half marathon at around 3:40 pace but in training running faster than sub 4 min pace can be really challenging. Despite this, I felt quite good and pretty much nailed the session. The problem was that it cost me more than I realised. On Wednesday I had an easy 2-hour ride followed by an easy 1 hour run. Guess what happened? The same feeling I had in Bintan happened to me. I was tired, lethargic and just could not push the pace when I wanted to. I literally averaged 6 min/km for the run. That is seriously slow for me even on an easy run. It made me a little concerned.
Anyway, all of this background brings us to yesterday and I had an appointment with my Dietitian, Chloe Mcleod (you can listen to the episode of my podcast we recorded with her here.) We discussed Bintan and what went wrong – not enough pre-fuelling or hydration. We discussed how to prepare better for Sunny Coast next weekend – enough pre-fuelling and hydration and then the conversation turned to how I was tired again so quickly after having a week off. Now I know from my own experience as a coach and trainer that people lie, A LOT! However I am a big believer that if I want to get the most out of a service I pay for I need to be as honest as I can. I explained how I have been tired so much of this year, a lot of my sessions I have struggled through and that lately I have not even had the energy to pay attention to my diet. A look came across Chloe’s face and I knew she was about to say something I didn’t want to hear. “Tim, I think you might be overtrained.”
As soon as she said it I was speechless. It actually made sense and she asked what my training schedule was like. I told her what my coach was giving me and she said that was normal, was I doing anything extra? Pause…. Here is where that honesty thing comes in (see what I did there – I created some sizzle earlier than brought it back later in the post!) The answer was yes. I had started to increase my training without even realising it. If I had a 3-hour bike ride, I would do 4. If I had an 18km run I would do 20. As soon as I started admitting it I was instantly embarrassed with myself. I cannot believe I had done this again. I wrote about how last year in the lead up to the World Championships I got in a little bit of trouble from my coach about doing this. Well looks like I started doing it again. Then the more I thought about it I realised exactly when the damage was done. A few weeks ago I went for a long ride. I thought it would be about 160km. For me that is right about the limit I can ride easily. I t will hurt me but I will bounce back quite quickly. This day I rode 190km. The worst part though was that because we were running late we basically rode the last 70km as hard as we could. I was already starting to struggle and this really forced me to dig deep. I think it took a bigger toll than I realised.
Suddenly it all started to make sense. The half marathon had been a struggle, my training had been a struggle, I was distracted at uni and the Bintan run was less than my fastest. I had dug into my reserves and not allowed myself to recover properly. Basically I did the thing that I get angry with my athletes for doing. In my defence I didn’t realise I was doing it at the time. But once it was highlighted I had nowhere to hide.
We came up with a plan on how to get better quickly to make sure it doesn’t impact my Sunny Coast race. I also made a vow to myself. I have 100% faith and trust in my coach and I will do only what he gives me from now on. Ok, sometimes if my friends are going for a ride I might join them. But no more adding extra kms because I think it is better. I know it isn’t. So there it is, I have written it down now. I promise you all that I am going to be a good boy. I am going to follow my program like a saint (I know Momo will like to hear that) and get back onto my meal plan.
I suppose I am treating this post almost like a mini exorcism. BE GONE thoughts that more is better. I will learn to train smarter, not longer and ultimately I will improve because of it. So here you go gang, another chance to learn from my own mistakes. Do as I say not as I do will become a redundant expression. I mean how can I consider myself worthy of telling other people what to do if I do not do it myself.
Get a good team around you, LISTEN to them and remember to TRI!