Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rest vs. Addiction

Meriam-Webster defines rest: repose , sleep ; specifically : a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities; a: freedom from activity or labor b: a state of motionlessness or inactivity c: the repose of death.

Definition of addiction: the quality or state of being addicted; 2: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal ; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

It's been a tough week in many ways. Suffice to say, I'm struggling with what should be off-season rest. There are many reasons for this, but I'll just say that I definitely have a mental and physical addiction to exercise. A bad thing? Not necessarily. But in my case, something I really need to work on.

I've read several blogs/articles relating to what triathletes should do during the off-season. The number one thing on the list: rest; relax; some deconditioning is good. Spend time with the family, doing something else you really like. Do some other form of physical activity which doesn't involve swimming, biking or running. Yoga anyone? How about kickboxing or pilates?

In my head, I know all of this is true. The last two years I have taken almost no time off. Thank God I haven't really been injured, which is usually the only reason I slow down. I did taper for ironman, and I felt absolutely horrible. I can't even explain how bad my body felt. I really think this was a contributing factor to my belief that I couldn't finish an ironman race. (Story for another time.)

Having said this, I know it was not a good thing. Three years ago, before I did my first half iron distance race, I lost about 35 pounds in 5 months. Over the past two years, while training for half and full iron distance races, I have gained about 10 pounds. One of the reasons I don't like taking time off is that I'm very concerned about my weight. I'm so afraid of gaining weight that I am now having an impossible time losing. However, I need to do something different. After all, what I've done the last two years HAS NOT WORKED! Not sure why, but for me, training harder and eating less is not the answer to weight loss. Maybe my body needs a big change. Less training, more relaxation, a time to destress.

Sounds easy, huh? For most people, yeah, I guess it would be. But for me, not so much. I am a very disciplined person. If I could be as disciplined about rest as I am about training, I would probably be a much better triathlete.

So, with all this in mind, I decided I would back off on my training starting on Tuesday. Less mileage, alternate high and low intensity, concentrate on form, not worry so much about distance and time.

I REALLY TRIED! I did OK on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. My plan for Friday was to swim only. But I woke up, and really wanted to ride on my trainer, so I did. I swam a little less than normal, so not too bad. I wanted to ride outside on Saturday, but the weather was really yukky for me to ride. I decided on an outside run. I was even cold running. I gave myself three choices on the run: 7.5, 11 or 9.5 miles. I opted for the 9.5 because I was COLD! I felt really good, so if I wasn't cold, I might have gone for the 11. Glad I didn't.

I had a really bad day yesterday. Stayed up too late, couldn't get to sleep, just a mess. When I woke up this a.m., I felt miserable. I ended up doing some strength training and a 2500 meter swim. Which means I did not have a rest/recovery day. Oh well. I feel like an addict. Every day I try to start over. I'm hoping to have a better week this week. I'm going to work out a plan and try to stick with it.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the athletes who completed IMFL. Elizabeth, Leigh Ann, Adam--you guys all rocked! You all had great times, and it seems like the weather was GREAT! I envy each of you--all that hard training paid off.

That's all I got. Not a happy camper--for all the wrong reasons. Hope everyone had a great week and weekend.

Until next time--God bless!

1 comment:

Vickie said...

I'm finding myself in some of the same dilemmas. I find it almost impossible to take a day off. I "think" I feel better doing something every day, but what happens is after 7 or 10 days straight with no time off, I am very tired, to the point where I need almost an entire day in bed just to recover, but of course I don't take that and drag myself around for a few days instead. As for eating less to lose weight, it never happens. You have to eat more to burn fat, and of course I'm not good at that either, so its a struggle I can sympathize with you over. I'll let you know if I figure this out!