Sometimes you just have to shut it down

Rest is probably the most commonly neglected aspect of triathlon training and can be one of the hardest pieces to fit in.  We all jump in the pool, climb in the bike or lace up for a hard interval run without a second thought and that’s how it should be.  Taking a day off, or knowing when you need one in the middle of a training block can be difficult.  How do you go about telling the difference between being lazy and seriously needing a break?  It can be a difficult conversation to have with yourself and those that support you. It can also be a fine line to walk between solid work and over-training which has the tendency to force extended downtime.

Last week, Hollie and took some time off and while I stepped away from multi-sport work for a few days, I didn’t exactly take it easy.  Instead, we ended up Moab exploring a few of our National Parks and doing some long hikes.  Over 3 days, we put in just shy of 30 miles over some pretty gnarly terrain.  It was a blast and a much needed break from the normal routines… well, as normal as my routines ever get.  I was also excited to see that she pushed just as hard or harder than I did even through the difficult sections.

Returning on Thursday, I stepped right back into the action and raced the first of our TT series with the Boulder Triathlon Club.  I had a great  ride and knocked a little over 2:30 off my PR for the roughly 10 mile TT course.  In addition, I clipped in about 5w higher than my PR for the stretch last year which was enough for me to formally earn a bump up in my FTP.  I also beat a few folks that last year I would have had no business beating, a trend I hope to continue.  The week concluded with a 65 mile ride Saturday and a masters swim on Sunday.  All in All, I clocked in one of my biggest weeks of training this year with a TSS of 994.  I’m usually lucky to get up into the 700s.

After a day off on Monday, Tuesday didn’t start off like it should have.  My times in the morning swim were solid, but it was much harder than it should have been.  Then it happened. During the team run, I imploded.  I couldn’t hold pace. I couldn’t breath, and for a few minutes couldn’t really even talk.  I sat out a few hill reps to gather myself and was able to finish, but was out of place.  Tuesday I slept in through a scheduled ride hoping to recover a bit.  Work had other plans.  A late night at the office had me out until 10pm and unable to sleep.  When I fell out of bed on Thursday, I was a total wreck.  I was barely able to function, but desperately wanted to race the second event in the TT series.  The response from Coach EK was simple:

take it off. relax catch back up on sleep etc. focus on feeling good this weekend.

I was in bed by 8pm and asleep by 9pm.  10 hours of the good solid sleep I’ve been missing lately and I feel like a new man.  I hate missing workouts as much as the next athlete, but going forward, I’m going to focus more on a few things:

  • Sleep – better quality sleep, every night
  • Recovery – post training drink, nightly stretching, scheduled days off as actual days off
  • Rest – knowing when to take a day to prevent an over-training collapse

This might mean having to take an extra day off every now and again, but I’m hoping the added focus on sleep and recovery will enable me to train harder and miss fewer sessions.

A few pics from our trip to Moab:



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