I’ve been on a pretty steady training plan since February. When I was building up for my Olympic distance and Half Ironman triathlons, I was working out roughly 25 hours a week. I’ve cut back since then, but still work out six days a week and usually average somewhere around 15 hours a week.
It’s October now and I’m burned out.
Don’t get me wrong — I fully recognize that I live in a beautiful place where there are ample places to swim, bike, and run (most of which are accessible from my house). And believe me when I say I’ve seen them all. I’ve done them all a zillion times. In the thick of the training, it was all I could do to make myself ride Crystal Springs Road and Canada Road one more time. Even now, I really have to talk myself into a workout on the most beautiful day of the year. Sometimes, I’ll drive to San Francisco to run at Crissy Field or on Ocean Beach, just for a change of scenery. I’ve even been known to drive to El Dorado Hills (about 2.5 hours away) to ride with a friend there.
I have one race left this season — the Big Sur Half Marathon on November 14. Then I’m home free! Well, maybe.
I know I am well-trained and I can rely on “maintenance training” for this race. I have heard about the importance of rest. I can rationalize the importance of down time. And yet, there is guilt. I am really trying to turn over a new leaf and take things down a notch, but it isn’t going so well. Here’s an excerpt from a conversation overheard in my head this week:
Me: “Whew! This is a rest week. The folks over at Slowtwitch Forums said to take it easy. And besides, Self, you deserve it!”
Self: “This only looks good on paper — just like a few ex-boyfriends (including the one I had to get a restraining order against). There is no way that NOT working out is better than working out. Have you seen how much wine I drink?”
That day’s workout included a 20-mile speed ride, including 2000 feet of climbing.
Me: “Ah, a new morning. Today should be a day off. I owe it to my Self to rest.”
Self: “Day off? Who am I kidding?? It’s beautiful outside! Why would I want to waste a beautiful day like this? I’d feel horrible knowing I was willing and able to workout and didn’t. Plus, I’m having dinner with a friend tonight and want to partake with zero guilt.”
That day’s workout included a 5.5 mile power walk with a friend + stroller and then a 5.5 mile run at an 8:15 m/m pace.
I’ll spare you the rest of the week… I know I need to stop the insanity (though this is pretty much the polar opposite to the insanity that Susan Powter fights against). I NEED TO REST AND DON’T KNOW HOW.
I have read a lot of research talking about the importance of rest. I’ve read other athletes’ blogs that talk about their struggle with resting and coming down from the training high. I know. I know. I know.
But I don’t know how.
Even if I am tired and I don’t “feel it,” I talk myself into going and I end up feeling great as soon as I’m out there. I love being out there. I love feeling the wind in my hair. I love knowing my body is strong and can take me anywhere. I don’t know what my body feels like at rest (unless it is injured). That unknowing doesn’t feel good. I don’t know how good rest can feel. So I keep seeking the goodness of going and doing, and I continue to be rewarded.
Is there a support group for this? Athletes Anonymous, perhaps??