Ironman Louisville was about a month ago now and after four weeks of general loafing it's time to get back into something a bit more structured in terms of training. As I had posted before, the Fall is going to be the time to concentrate on swimming and really try to make some headway before the start of next season. Some people may be entering the off-season now, some may be racing cross but for me it's back into the base training.
The past three years I have raced deep into November - 2006 was IM Florida, and then 2007 and 2008 was the 70.3M World Championships. In a way I wish I had taken my slot for the 70.3M Worlds this year but I felt it was time to give it a break and not race so late into the year. It was hard racing late, everyone on the group rides was taking it easy in October when you were still trying to go hard and then when you get back from your last race eager for some easy rides everyone is back going hard again....you couldn't win! So this year I took the four week break after Louisville and am now looking forward to the base sessions, hitting the weights, swimming like a fish and dropping by some running races.
Ironman racing and training really is a truly mental (chicken oriental....get it, cockney rhyming slang) thing and it takes a lot to train, race and then get back into training after a race. To race and compete to your potential is a 2-3 month undertaking of solid preparation in addition to all the training you have accumulated over the previous months and years. Not only does the training take it's toll, but mentally it is draining and it's good to take a break for a while. It allows the body to recover and gives important time away from the training log and the daily sessions. It's nice to be "released" from the daily demands of training and just chilling not worrying if you have a hard workout or if you need to get up at 5:30am to hit the pool! Maybe even eat some oreo's (the new PB ones are great!) and M&M's.
Now after a four week break I feel like getting back into some structured training and hitting up the Fall running races. When you feel like getting back into it, that's a sign that the break has been long enough and it's good that you want to train again. I'm planning on being in this sport for a while and so there is no point in burning out now. You need to enjoy what you are doing and enjoying it makes you want to do more....it's self-perpetuating but you have to make sure that you don't overdo it. Afterall, we are amateurs and it's a lifestyle that involves work, rest and play....we have other things in our lives that we need to balance.