As I begin training for my 2nd Ironman, I am pondering this question: how much is too much? When have I crossed that line? Living in San Diego and belonging to Tri Club San Diego (www.triclubsandiego.org), I will always find peers that train harder and faster than I do. Every year, I get fitter, break down my boundaries, and can go harder. I never know where my limits are. Sometimes I feel like I'm Kramer, in that episode of Seinfeld, where he test-drives the car and sees how far it can go until it runs out of gas. I'm curious. How far can I go before I drop? Where are my limits? I'm beginning to realize, just because I CAN, doesn't mean I always SHOULD. There are always consequences afterwards.
I was so excited to get a borrowed bike up in NorCal; I rode that bike as much as I could. Why is it when I'm on vacation, I work out more? This was my week from Thursday on:
Thursday: hard, 6-mi track workout
45 minutes weights
fun 35-mile bike ride with rolling hills
1 hr stretching Yoga
Friday: very hard, 52-mile ride with 7,000 feet of climbing
Saturday: 17 mile run at goal marathon pace (negative split 2nd half of run)
Sunday: 4-mile road race @ 8 min/mi
I knew on Sunday, I shouldn't be running so hard. I knew I should be recovering. But I wanted to test myself. How fast could I run the day after a long run? It was like an experiment. Apparently, I can run pretty fast. But I paid the consequences later. As I boarded the plane to return home, I fell asleep in my seat instantly. I couldn't keep my head up. Exhaustion weighed on me like a clingy, baby elephant. That evening, despite massive amounts of sleep and food, I came down with a low-grade fever. Monday brought a minor cold with that nasty little fever still hanging on. I took a requisite rest day. Looking over my training plan, I realized I hadn't had a day off from training in 2 weeks.
Tuesday, I felt amazing. After a quick workout on the bike trainer, I ran down the 56-bike path for a run. I felt fantastic. Fatigue? Gone. Achiness? Nada. Effort? Easy. A complete 180. Rest days really do work! As I ran, I pondered, "Am I an addict?" I'm reading Drinking, A Love Story by Caroline Knapp, a memoir about how the author battled alcoholism. Sometimes, her description of her love and passion for alcohol sends shivers down my spine; it reminds me of how I feel about triathlon! Am I a "triathaholic"?
1. I can't bike 4x/week on the same weeks I'm running 4x/week. (Well, I can but I'll pay for it later). Since I'm training for a marathon right now, biking 3x a week (~100 miles/week) is plenty.
2. I DO need 1 complete rest day each week. Yes, swimming and weights count!
3. I have a recovery week next week (my 4th week) but I need to watch my fatigue levels. If I get too tired as training progresses, I may move my recovery weeks back to every 3rd week, instead.