I hope everyone is getting ready for the start of the racing season down under or is excited as I am to see the last remnants of Winter. I have had a few weeks to reflect on my terrible Sunny Coast performance as well as some much needed recovery and I think the main reason for my less than optimal result was that I did not listen to my body.
After Bintan, my body had to work bloody hard to recover from the multiple injuries I suffered as a result of my bike crash. Unlike my bike, I couldn't just take it to a shop to get fixed. Instead there were a number of things I should have done in order to fully recover. I still don't think I am at 100% after the crash. There is a pain in my hand from where I took off a lot of skin on my palm that is slowly getting better. But all-in-all I think that the whole ordeal thrown in with the extreme heat and travel took its toll. Attempting to then give 100% 3 weeks later led to me getting sick right after Sunny Coast. Usually if I get a cold I shake it off in a couple of days. Last weekend I had a group of beginner triathletes join me in Parramatta for a 'brick' session. A brick session is where you ride then run off the bike to replicate racing. You can also do a swim, bike brick as well. Well, I decided I was well enough to join them. I did the session and despite struggling to breathe the only precaution I took was to put on a jacket to stay warm. Then on Tuesday, despite not making any significant improvements I decided to get back into my training and did a swim and hard bike session. HUGE MISTAKE. That night I was a shambles. My wife ordered me to the doctor so off I went on Wednesday. Guess what? My simple cold had turned into a full blown sinus and chest infection. There goes my training week and a course of antibiotics for good measure.
So its Saturday and I have basically taken two whole weeks off training. For those of you who know me, you will know that is huge. I literally cannot think of the last time I took off one whole week of training. Two is unheard of for me. So today I decided I wanted to do a little something. I went out for a park run and decided to take it easy. I ran a full minute slower than normal but I stayed in control the whole time. I could talk to my wife as I ran past her and after I didn't feel like I had done any damage to my recovery. It has been incredibly hard to be sitting at home and seeing all the sessions my friends have been doing. However, my body has obviously sent me a very obvious message. I was not ready to go out and race on the Sunshine Coast and I was definitely not ready to go back to my 20+ hour weeks of training. When I speak to some of my friends or beginner athletes I am always telling them to listen to their bodies and not pushing too hard when they are tired or feeling a niggle. What do they say? "Do as I say, not what I do!" So that is the take away from this experience. I push my body very hard when I train and race, I need to start focusing more on the recovery.
I firmly believe that my forced time off training will mean I will come back as a stronger athlete. I also hope that by trying to incorporate more recovery into my regular training will lead to a more sustainable level of performance and mean I am able to stay in the sport for longer. I am planning on adding some yoga and stretching into my week. I have also mentioned that I will add resistance training too. This is not recovery, but by working on improving my muscular strength I am hoping to reduce the chances of injury. Of course I will be careful and am going to work on my technique etc before I start smashing PB's or anything like that. The other change I have made since Sunny Coast is that I have really cleaned up my diet. Now I never ate terribly but now I am eating really well, I repeat I am EATING well. I am not starving myself. I am definitely eating less than before. Since Sunny Coast and without training I have lost 6 kilos after getting home. This tells me a few things. The most important being that my diet really was not optimal for success. I am actually curious to know what my weight would have been like if I wasn't smashing myself training everyday. I believe that my diet now is supporting my performance. I am eating to train, not training to eat. My body has been screaming for a more nutritious diet and I am striving to deliver it.
So all of these changes are meant to equal improvements in performance. Whether they do will be seen over the next 12 months in my performances. I am hoping that by starting to focus on the details that I have neglected in the past I will be a much more effective athlete. I am attempting to equip myself with all the necessary skills to be successful. I am trying to get the total equation right. Not one half of it. I think this is something important for everyone. It is easy to be skinny and unhealthy. It is also possible to be fit and overweight. I think training and diet are two halves that when both mastered can lead to success. So if you are not seeing the results you want maybe it is time to look at either side of the equation. Talk to a professional if you need to or are unsure. I am going to see a sports dietitian in the next few weeks to make sure that what I do is correct. These people have expertise that many of us do not so try to utilise it.
That's it for this week. I am going to race the Western Sydney Half Marathon next weekend and am curious to see how the body is for the race. I am looking forward to seeing a number of my friends at this race as well as running a faster half marathon on the site of my infamous explosion last year.
Have fun, listen to your body and remember to TRI!