Another semester in the bag and man did this one take it out of me. I guess as readers of my posts you probably noticed as my blogs have become less and less frequent over the last few months. Never fear! I am determined to get back into doing what I love to do and writing these posts more often. As I have mentioned, they are a great opportunity for me to put down what I am thinking and feeling. Other than uni being full on I have been working hard on getting my podcast going and have been blown away by the number of people who are getting on board and listening. I have also, as you are no doubt aware, been getting back into my training.
After my Challenge Melbourne disaster, I was talking with my coach about my goals for the upcoming year and I said the goal is no doubt to start focusing on the 4:05. I felt confident that it was no longer a question of if I was going to do it, but more a question of when. Then I started training again. To say that my return to training was something I was looking forward to would be an understatement. I enjoyed my break, but I am so determined to reach my goal that I wanted to get started as quickly as possible to give myself the best chance of achieving it. I knew the process from last year. We start easy and we slowly build. It is frustrating but ultimately I know it worked. So we started easy. As proof of my dedication to the cause, I made he decision to skit Cairns 70.3 because the timing was completely wrong (and I had an exam to work on.) But ‘Old Tim’ would have gone and done it anyway and not worried about the consequences.
So to my progress, I have been back training for over a month now and to be honest, it has been hard, really hard. It has been much harder than I expected it to be. Let’s be honest, training for a fast time is always going to be hard. There are countless hours spent sweating, cramping, hurting and wishing you were doing anything else. But as hard as the training has been physically, I have found it harder psychologically. I am a bit of an analyst. I love to look at numbers for trends and indicators. I am very aware of where my swim, bike and run pace (or power) is at any given time. Now I know what sort of numbers I was capable of before my last race. I also accept that taking a break would have a slight impact on them. I just didn’t realise how big an impact it would have.
This is where we get to the title of this post, I have become my own worst enemy. If you look back to one of my previous posts I wrote about how I wasn’t feeling entirely like myself. I think in hindsight this played a part in it. With the exception of my swimming, everything else was significantly worse off than it was before the break. Rationally I knew this was going to be the case. I also rationally know that base training is not going to have too much of an impact on improving top end speed or power. But there have been a few times where I have wanted to ‘dig deep’ and I have been found wanting. There just isn’t anything in the tank to give.
I am a huge advocate of not comparing yourself to others. Whether this is how much you weight – may I add that I have also been struggling to drop those extra kgs I put on during my break – or what your training looks like compared to others. You need to focus on your own journey and your own progress. I really believe this is true. But what do you do when the person you are comparing yourself to is… well… yourself? I have never experienced this level of frustration in self-comparison before and it has been a real struggle to deal with it. At times I have worried myself that I maybe pushing myself too hard trying to catch back up to where I want to be. I know I have had the conversation with some of my athletes about not rushing back. But when you are in it, it can be difficult.
I suppose it is at times like this where it is important to have faith in the person guiding your ship. I am lucky to say that I do. I have faith in the program being put together for me by my coach. This has been the thing that has helped to keep me relatively in check. I know there is a plan and while I may not be able to see the forest from the trees I ultimately don’t have to. By having faith in the plan I am able to calm myself down when I am feeling particularly frustrated. But hey, it doesn’t change the fact that I am frustrated by my loss of fitness.
On a call last week we were talking about how athletes are competitive and I was trying to explain (or defend myself) that I am not that competitive with other people (except for my brother). Ok, if I am racing and there are people around me I want to beat them. But I do not go into races focused on my competitors. But I was reminded that it is possible to be competitive with yourself and this is something that is incredibly true. I am my own biggest competitor and while it is what gets me out the door when I am tired or cold or bored. It can be difficult knowing exactly how your competition is performing or knowing how poor your performance is compared with your competition. I can’t help where I was - it has been and gone. I can’t click my heels together and suddenly be back to the same level that I was. What I do have control over is where I am going. I know what it takes to get where I was and I guess this helps me to understand what I need to do to get where I am going. I need to show that prick who is the boss and remind myself why I do this.
Understand the process, don’t worry about what your competition is doing and remember to TRI!
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