Mental Energy

What’s new?   Not to much.  I’m currently enjoying my offseason.  Really enjoying it.  In fact, I can count on my fingers (7) how many workouts I’ve done in the weeks since Hawaii (5).  I’m getting lazy, and I don’t mind.  I’ve spent a lot of time playing video games, reading, and just not thinking about triathlon.  I know that I should be training fairly regularly, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  Although my motivation and desire to train has been increasing it only got to the point where it was high enough to push the millstone down the hill in the last day or so.  Now that I’m rolling it towards the edge, I’ve just got to focus a little bit more until routine sets in.

Well what’s the point of this?  Just a gentle reminder that however motivated one is (very) or strong your desire is (strong) an offseason is probably the most important part of the season.  When one attempts to train at a high level in order to race a fast Ironman (whatever that may be for the person).  It takes a large toll on you – both physically and mentally.  What makes taking an offseason difficult is that when you cross the finish line, good or bad – you typically develop an overwelming enthusiasm for the next season.  If acted upon that enthusisasm and the fitness you have from the build into the race, and the race itself – is enough to obilterate you. 

My best experience tells me that it is best to rest, really rest until you motivation and desire seem mere figments of imagination.  For me that takes a couple of weeks, sometimes longer.  Once I feel tempted to slide into the old habits of losing hours to the calming glow of my computer, I know that I am mentally and physically recharged.  Yes, I lose a lot of fitness by doing this, but having a fully rejuvinated mental energy store more then makes up for the lost of fitness. 

Triathlon is much more mental then physical.  To truly reach your potential in triathlon you must know the way to your well.  Not just that, you need to have the courage to look into that well and pull from it.  Drawing from the well is indescribably hard, for me it takes a large amount of desire, courage, and willpower to reach into it.  If I’m already using the large majority of my mental energy to "go", I won’t have the mental energy required to dip into the reserves stored in the well to drive my body forward. 

I just have to get over that hump of changing my routine…

The Time is Now

There are those of us who are always about to live. We are waiting until things change, until there is more time, until we are less tired, until we get a promotion, until we settle down / until, until, until. It always seems as if there is some major event that must occur in our lives before we begin living.

-George Sheehan

Starting over from scratch

It’s officially the off-season for me, or depending on your point of view the rejuvenation/transition phase of the 2008 triathlon season.

That means it’s time to get "fat", and out of shape.  I’m convinced that doing nothing for 3 weeks after Hawaii accomplished that goal brilliantly.  It also means that as far as training is concerned it’s time to slow down, evaluate where I’m at and enjoy working out.  This next year I’m going to try two new things: execute my run training based on my Daniels’ VDOT, and execute my bike training using similar principles based on power numbers (once I purchase a power meter, until then I’ll be using approximations based on my Kurt Kinetic trainer).

From a running point of view I will likely be running a lot slower in training then I have ever in the past, although there will be times where I will run much faster then ever before in training.  It will definitely be a leap of faith, but I think using a more objective measure in both running and cycling, rather then my subjective feel and desire to be fast will ultimately lead to faster times.  At least that’s the hope.

Yesterday I did a 15k race, my second run since Hawaii.  I did a short 30 minute run the day before because I felt a little nervous about a 15k run being my first run since Hawaii.  It went good.  I crossed in 1:04:17, about 3 minutes faster then I did the same run last year.  This equates to a VDOT in the 49-50 range, so that’s where I’m going to base my training until I do the Turkey Trot 10k in Kenosha in a few weeks.

The paces suggested by that VDOT are depressingly slow – 8:30ish for a long/easy pace!  I haven’t ran that slow in years.  I immediately questioned the brilliance of this plan, until I looked at the equivalent marathon time – 3:12.  Considering my marathon PR is a 3:06, having an VDOT equivalent to a 3:12 (not that I could actually do one that fast now) – and I have logged very little physical activity more strenuous then walking up two flights of stairs to go to bed since Hawaii, I’ll play along.  Plus it’s only three weeks until I do a 10k and can (hopefully) earn the right to train faster.