"I always wanted to be somebody. Now I realize I should have been more specific!" Lily Tomlin
A Quick Comment on Sleep
Many age group athletes get too little sleep. They fail to allow for the, sometimes considerable, time that training takes out of their day. Takes out of their lives some would say. According to South African physician Tim Noakes, if you are working out two hours per day, and sleeping an extra hour per night, you have "lost" 3 hours per day and whatever you would normally do during that time must give way. But we triathletes rarely do it that way. Instead of budgeting our time to account for training, we let the other obligations cut into our valuable sleep time, write it off to multi-tasking, "I'm just the busiest gal I know," or some such frivolous rationalization and fail to achieve adequate rest. By doing so, we diminish human growth hormone production, much needed to repair our tissues from the breakdown that occurs while training. The moral of the story is that all parts of your day are important: your family, your job, your to-do list including the day's work outs, and right up there as well for optimum performance, your rest.
Respect your injury
Many triathletes are psychologically stronger than they are physically.
Many athletes focus on training related injures involves solely whether or not they’ll be affected in an upcoming race. Little thought is given to making injury resolution priority #1. They've sought help from a friend, an internet forum, or local medical professional. But in the end, many realize they've invested so much time and energy as part of this sport, there's a good chance they know more about themselves athletically than any physician. But this is likely not true medically. It does, however, give them an insight into helping their care giver help them. It's a pretty unique patient-doctor relationship that as a physician I enjoy.
Brett Sutton, famed coach of Teambb, think Chrissie Wellington, views it this way: "injuries are nothing more than a test of character. You see quickly how they deal with adversity. Injuries go but the scars remain in the minds of most." (Sutton's comments leave me wondering if those are positive or negative scars.)
The take home message here is that we will all be injured at one point or another, some of us frequently, some of us annually, some less. You know that all of us get a great deal more out of of triathlon than finish line times. Although you've heard this before, you can't hear it often enough. Listen to your body. Is that new knee pain, foot pain, shoulder ache something that you've had in the past and you know will vanish or is it something else? Many triathletes us are stronger psychologically than physically! Really. And if you don't know it, your body certainly does. (Those of you old enough will recognize the name Gordon Liddy, chief organizer of the White House Plumbers, responsible for the Watergate burglaries during the Nixon administration. He was noted for "holding his hand over a lighter flame until the flesh burned.") If we have the potential to do things to ourselves in the name of fitness, we have the potential to undo them in the name of fitness as well.
Monday is the "most commonly injured" day. It's not actually. It's just the day that people complain of pain the most. "I don't understand it. I just ran my usual 5 miles this morning." What they don't see is that it may have taken a couple days for the effects from Saturday's big brick workout to become apparent. I see it all the time.
Take Coach Stacee Seay, she is a master at achieving a sense of balance between offspring, job, triathlon and just plain enjoying living that many strive for but few of us achieve. You know how when you're talking with one of your tri friends, (or perhaps someone talking to you? Am I getting warm here?) and it becomes obvious that your idle chatter is cutting into their work out time? And they start to fidget? And then they fidget a little more? And if you talk to them too much, "Well, my T1 split at his race was 2:33 but at he next one it was blah, blah..." they go into a full grand mal seizure? Yeah, I thought you did. It reminds me of one of those Whack-A-Mole games.........
Stacee doesn't do that, ever. She has this sense of calmness, of control, that everything's going to be OK. I think this is because she sees triathlon as a part of life, but not life itself. Like many successful athletes, she's learned to utilize the darkness. She's plans work outs around work and life instead of the opposite, even if this means getting that morning work out done before heading to the lab, it gets done. Achieving this awareness can be quite valuable. When you're the first one up, you can get in a run... and wave to the deer and the newspaper guy. Or, get in some time on the trainer, with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin distracting you with previous TdF dvds. My swim group meets at 5:30. In short, you can get in some quality training and be done when others are just stirring.
Lastly, I had someone tell me once that they'd think twice before hiring some one deeply involved in this sport. Sure, the old adage about giving something you want done to the busiest person you know is part of this. But does the candidate think, plan, drown in triathlon thoughts during their work day to the point that it diminishes their effectiveness....?
But then as I later thought about this comment, or more important here, the commentor, I came to realize he was simply describing himself.
Just one more thing to think about. Happy training.