Monday, June 1, 2015

Fighting Fatigue Through Phrases

There are now less than nine weeks until the big day and the training has clearly ticked up in both intensity and duration.

If I’m not swimming until it feels like my arms are going to fall off, I’m repeating a set of hills or doing a run after that set of hills. In other words, things are very hard right now and I’m often completely spent at the end of the day.

In fact, after finishing yesterday’s brick, it was about all I could do to get a shower before I got in bed and took a nap. It’s always a good feeling to finish up the last workout of the week and in all candor, I expected the upcoming week to be one of my recoveries. A look at my Training Peaks account last night showed me otherwise.

Instead of a lighter week, I have about another 12 hours of training that includes a very long swim (IM distance) track work, and some bike rides that will include some trips up to power zone 5 which has never been a favorite place of mine.

The effect on my mood was a little disheartening at first. Being that tired can make you a little despondent when you’re told that there’s basically another week coming up that is more or less like the one you finished. This last week has had a lot of strength focused work including hill climbs on both the bike and on the run.

After a few minutes of sulking, I realized that isJune after all and in fact, two weeks from tomorrow I’ll be racing. Being that it’s summer, that time will undoubtedly fly by! This helped me remember that I’m not training for the Clay-man or even the Aluminum-man. This is the IRON-man and that moniker really isn’t an exaggeration. I seem to recall that among the founders were members of the military and some of their sayings helped bring me out of my funk. My three favorites these days are:


The only easy day was yesterday.

Embrace the suck.

If my own preparations are inadequate, I end up either not finishing or coming in so late that all my friends and family have gone on to have dinner and gone to bed while my wife waits for me with a look that is combination worry and annoyance. If one of our military members has a bad day, well, you know.

Another phrase that helps is one  my coach has used: 

If this were easy, everyone would do it.

While it may feel like everyone is in the water with me at the start, the truth is only an infinitesimal fraction of a percentage of the population will ever do anything like this. It’s good perspective.

So I’m still faced with the same set of circumstances. Hard workouts, feelings of exhaustion and pain that really can’t be described and no assurances that next week will be any easier. However, my outlook has improved. Long swims? Bring it! Twelve by 400 on the track? No problem, I’ve done that before. Anticipating a challenge, especially when it’s daunting is usually worse than the actual event. Past experience has taught me that without even noticing, I’m already most of the way through the workout. My final phrase that has helped me along:

This too shall pass.

Thanks for reading and best of luck to you in all of your obstacles, challenges and most of all in overcoming your fears.


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