I was getting a little excited. The weather was warm, the sun was out and triathlon season had started. My infamous tan lines have made a return. It is my favourite time of the year. Well apparently mother nature had other plans this week and it just so happened to coincide with one of the biggest weeks of training I have had in some time. This is all in the lead up to the 3 big races I have over the next 6 weeks, Laguna Phuket Triathlon, Challenge Phuket and Taupo 70.3. I am also currently in study break as exams start next week and am working on my major essay for one of my subjects. The shit weather and the large study load created the perfect storm for skipping some sessions. But I will not do it. After the shambles of a race I had on the Sunshine Coast and addressing some of the issues with me perhaps overdoing some aspects of my training I have been attempting to follow my training program like a saint. This means come rain, hail or shine I am determined to get my sessions done. It simply means being flexible. This is not something that only applies to weeks where the weather is poor or you have exams coming up. It applies to the regular stress and congestion that many of us face in our regular lives.
When it rains it is still quite easy to swim and run. It is the bike that I hate doing when it is wet. My bike gets filthy, the road becomes slippery and your brakes don't work as well. You get very wet and very cold with the wind blowing on you as you ride. I used to like the cold but my stint in the arctic hell which is Norway completely broke me. After 2 years of living in a location that quite frankly is not suitable for human habitation I am a massive sook when it comes to the cold. So having a week with 4 rides was never going to be much fun. I will also admit that I am quite lucky as I really enjoy using the trainer or stationary bike. But only up to a certain point. This week I was starting to push that limit.
Every morning I would look at my program for the day and see the volume. My first thought was always is there a session I can skip? The honest answer is yes. I could skip every single session if I wanted. I could prioritise other things like couch surfing or study over the training. But instead I found a way to get the session done. Tuesday was a real challenge as it was a 2 hour bike ride followed by 8x800s. On Tuesday it was pissing down and I could not work out the logistics of an indoor ride and then getting to the road where I run my 800's. So I accepted the fact that I would go to the gym and spend 2 hours on the spin bike followed by the run on the dreadmill. The 800's are a tough set. But they are extremely satisfying because you are left completely drained at the end of the interval. They are also acceptable because you can see the end of the interval as you run towards it. On a treadmill this is not the case. I got the session done but it was a battle. I think in total for this week I spent 9 hours on the indoor bike or trainer. The longest session was 3 hours on Thursday and it was horrid.
Basically I am having a whinge about having to do so much of my training inside this week. I hated it. I hate it. But in hindsight it is better than the alternative, not doing anything. As I mentioned, it would have been possible for me to rationalise missing sessions this week because of the weather or study but the only person I would have been cheating was myself. So how can this apply to the average person who is trying to stay in shape? How easy is it for life to get in the way? To rationalise skipping one, then two then all of your sessions because you are busy or something comes up. The simple answer is that it is very easy. I also believe that if you are seriously stressed there is no advantage in forcing yourself to complete a hard session. I do however believe that in every 24 hour day we live there is always time for at least some form of exercise. If it means getting up early and heading out the door before you are used to or sacrificing your lunch break for a work out or heaven forbid, leaving work on time and heading to the gym, it is possible. It comes down to your priorities. Are you trying to stay in shape? Are you trying to win your next race? The goal will always impact on the effort and dedication.
One of the best things I have ever read is that saying I'm too busy is the grown-up equivalent of the dog ate my homework. Everyone has challenges and hurdles that can get in the way of their eating or training. But some people are better at overcoming them than others. Whether this is because of their ambition or goals I am not sure. But what I do know is that there are things that everyone can do in order to overcome those challenges. These things are simple tricks which can help to maximise training opportunity and minimise missed sessions because of being time-pooor.
The simplest thing is to have your training gear with you. If you are planning on going for a swim, take your swim stuff with you. If you don't go in the morning find a pool or other place (gym) which you can go to before you go home. Chances are if you are a bit tired and you have to go home before heading out to train, you aren't going to do it. By eliminating the possibility to sit down on the couch for a couple of minutes there is a much greater chance of getting it done. Make training dates. If you have a friend who you can train with, set a time and place to meet. If you are busy at work it might encourage you to actually get out the door on time because there are other people waiting on you. Plus, training with other people is fun. It can be social and much more entertaining than doing it yourself. Download an audiobook and only allow yourself to listen to it while you are training. If it is a god story you will be desperate to get to your next session because you want to know what happens. You might also find yourself training a little longer than expected. The final tip I have today is to stay flexible. You may have a 60 minute run planned but you only have time for a 30 minute run. If that is the case then do the the 30 minute run. Something is better than nothing and when people start to think they will 'catch up' later in the week is when injury and sickness can creep in. Always have a plan B if your original plan doesn't or cant work out.
Don't think that I am a saint. I skipped a 30 minute run yesterday because I was absolutely exhausted. With all this the primary concern should always be to listen to your body. But make sure it is genuine exhaustion that makes you need to miss a session. It is easy to come up with the excuses to not do something. Training is hard. If it was easy we wouldn't be facing massive obesity issues and everyone would be world class athletes. But at the end of the day when you do stop training or miss one too many sessions remember that the only person who you are impacting on is yourself.
That's it for this week. Sorry I am a little late in getting this done but as mentioned there has been a lot going on. I am heading to Thailand in a couple of weeks and get to stay at the incredible Thanyapura while I am there. I will try and recap the training we do at the camp each day so you can all see just how incredible the facilities are there. We are also taking a go pro so there will be some fun stuff coming your way.
But enough from me. How about you? What is your best tip to make sure you train? Does having a coach help? Does the potential for your friends giving you grief keep you motivated? Let me know, maybe they will help me next time I am struggling to get out the door.
Have a good week, get out and train and remember to TRI!