By Michael Telpner
Last week I woke up at 5:00 a.m., went down to the basement, got on my bike and said: “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS TODAY”. There comes a point in everyone’s training when you go through the same pre-training rituals that you always follow, but your body just doesn’t want to listen.
I like to call it the “mid-season blahs.” It’s the time of the year when you’ve been training hard for months, you want to enjoy the summer, but you are still in your training program. You know you should keep going, but your body isn’t listening anymore.
I have been racing triathlons for the past 10 years. There always seems to be one or two weeks each year where my intrinsic motivation to train fades and I can’t put up the numbers I can.
To manage these times, I have found three things that have worked for me.
- Take an extra rest day: Yes, I said it. TAKE-AN-EXTRA-REST-DAY. Sometimes the hardest decision is to NOT train. When you are dedicated to your sport and disciplined with your training, it is really (really really!) difficult to accept the big, red block on Training Peaks. Recovery from training is often more critical to your performance than anything else, yet we tend to push harder than we should when our bodies are telling us the opposite. If you feel tired, weak, etc. an extra rest day may what you need and restart your training the next day. Remember, taking an extra rest day doesn’t mean you should cram the training you missed into the next day…it means skip it entirely.
- Change-it-up: Most of the cycling training I do is on a trainer. It can be very lonely. When workouts don’t go as planned, long trainer rides are the first to. This year, I joined the Morning Glory Cycling club. They meet almost every day of the week in Leaside, with a long ride on the weekend. I get a good ride in and focus on the challenge rather than hitting my metrics. Often, I end up riding harder than if I would have ridden alone.
- Go Naked: Well, that will definitely encourage you to run faster. Train without all the extra gear we have become accustomed to. Sometimes the pressure to “hit” your numbers takes away the pleasure and the reason why we got into the sport in the first place. Separating yourself from all of you “gear” is a great way to rediscover your passion for the sport and separate. Even if your run isn’t recorded on Strava, it still happened.
For me, last week was that week. It took some convincing from my Toronto Triathlon Club swim friends to take the extra day off. In fact, I took two full days off in a row. Something I haven’t done this season. I got back on my bike yesterday for my first trainer ride in a week. I nailed my workout. It left me feeling motivated for my next session and the feeling more positive about why I race.
What do you do to get over the training valleys during the season?