Doing an Ironman always sounds like a great idea. Others who have done it probably told you about the thrill of the final mile. For weeks leading up to it you saw their Facebook posts on all their training sessions that went well, like “Just biked 5 hours! ….swam 3k this morning! ….PR’d in a B race!”
What your friends didn’t likely share was the mental and emotional drag that training can be. I mean honestly, when is the last time you read a post that said, “Can’t stand the thought of another hour in the saddle ….slept through Masters Swim this morning …missed two happy hours and a birthday party this week so I could train” or their spouse’s post of, “Haven’t got laid in almost a month. Thanks Ironman.”
Adhering strictly to a 140.6 training plan requires as much discipline and mental fortitude as it does physical energy. You need to wake up every morning loving the life of an ironman. If need a break at the end of your 2011 season, take it. This doesn’t mean do nothing. It just means you should stay in shape in ways beyond a swimming, biking and running with a rigid schedule. There are plenty of non-sport specific ways to stay in shape.
Also, begin to think about what your mental escape from training will be next year. This may sound odd. When training picks up and race day draws near, it will consume your every thought. You need an out. Put down the Lava Magazine and step away from the Garmin file. This could be playing with your kids, reading, watching mindless television, or socializing with a specific group of friends you can hang out with that won’t talk about racing. Bottom line – you need another hobby even if that hobby is reality tv.
This is the third in a series of ten posts dedicated to athletes thinking about their first long course race in 2012. Check back tomorrow for thoughts on Your Weakest Link for a 140.6 in 2012.