Friday, November 30, 2012

Knowing when to train - and when not to

One of the things I find the most challenging about triathlon training is knowing when not to.  That little niggle in your knee: is it something you should take total rest for, go easy, or stick to the plan?  The tickle in your throat?  Sniffles?  Pain in the foot?

The answer is different for everybody.  Then if you have taken time off, how do you get back at it?  Do you try to make up your missed workouts or do you just let them drop?  Do you need to adjust your plan going forward, depending on what you missed?

Most of this week, I've felt off.  Not horrible, but more tired then usual and I've had the sniffles.  Having said that, it's been the kind of "sick" that training through actual seems to help.  As in, I feel better after then I did before.

Until today.  Actually last night.  As I was working yesterday evening, I just felt progressively worse.  Fortunately, the last couple hours are not busy and I could spend the majority of the time sitting down.  Because I needed to.  Then this morning, I knew things weren't good.  I slept in, due to alarm clock malfunction, but I'm still exhausted.  Managed to get the kids to school anyways.  Came home and contemplated my bike.

Then laid down in bed.

Sometimes you need to suck it up and train anyways.  Today is not one of those times.

So, make it up or move on?  I think it depends on how this hits me.  I'm hoping this is one of those things that just slams me for a day and moves on.  Not liking that it's a bike day it hit, given that my bike has been the most neglected this fall.  But, now I have a coach.  So, I'm going to let her decide.

I still remember the first time I missed a run.  It was a bit more then 2 years ago, 3 months after I started running.  It was because I was sick, and I felt like missing one run was the end of the world.  That it would destroy what I had started building for myself.  I was still in that early stage where, as much as I wanted it, I was afraid of the quitter in myself.  That's not who I am anymore.

Perspective is key here.  It's November.  Whatever happens right now, and even if I miss a bit of training, it's going to have minimal or no affect on my performance in July.  I'm not skipping out on it because I'm trying to avoid it, but because my body just isn't up to it.

Life happens, and it's not the first workout I've missed - not by a long shot.  I actually think it's better that way.  I think there's a danger in being so dedicated/obsessed that you won't sacrifice a workout for anything.  Life happens, so does injury, illness, and family.  You have to be able to recognize when something else takes priority over your training.



  1. When I was in active training for IM, my rule was that if I was debating whether or not to work out, go and try for at least 20 minutes, and see how it goes. A few of those I bailed on, but most I carried on because it was starting to feel better, or at least acceptable. But there were a few mornings where I woke up, and I knew that I wasn't going to be doing that workout. Knew in the same way that I know when it's time to eat or go to the bathroom. I felt no guilt about missing those.

    However now that I'm not in active training for a specific race, it's a bit tougher. There've been a few workouts where I've debated with myself, knowing I'd go do it if it was on my schedule, but also knowing I'm starting to feel run down. My thinking these days there is no point in being really fit if you can't enjoy it in day to day activities, instead of using it up on more training.

  2. I wouldn't worry about missing a workout here or there nor would I make it up. I try hard not to miss the long runs and rides later in training, but have occasionally due to life getting in the way.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  3. I think you usually know when your body is really telling you NO. And as you said, one missed training day is not a big deal. I hope you are feeling better soon.