Just over three years ago, living become difficult for me. I wasn’t thinking clearly, I was laying around all the time, and I felt like I was leaving life on the table.
Regret is probably my biggest motivator. It scares the shit out of me to think about looking up from a hospital bed and wondering . . . “what if?”
For some reason I decided running (and walking) would be the catalyst. But real change is hard and frankly takes a lot longer than you want.
I had never been able to run for more than a short distance or a couple days in a row. But with the help of a Couch to 5k program I got hooked and running eventually propelled me to triathlon.
Couch to 5k eases you into running by combining it with walking. Slowly building your joints, muscles and tendons to the point where they can sustain a 3 mile run.
This Couch to 5k mentality has always been an important theory in my training, but it’s easy to forget.
Typical I’ll get lazy for a while, then tear off into the sunset to prove that I “still have it,” but I usually don’t. That’s when patience is tested.
Someone once told me the purpose of exercise is to “get” energy, not lose it. I really like that concept and often refer to it as an “excuse” when I cut workouts short.
Injury, fatigue, and general disinterest will kill your race far faster than under-training. There were many nights during that initial 5k training that I could have kept going after the workout, but quitting while you’re ahead does something really important: it keeps the fire burning.
Swimming is a great example for me. I am not kidding when I say the furthest I swam last year before Ironman Louisville was 2500 meters (the race is over 4,000). Why? Because long pool swims absolutely destroy my body and mind.
That said, I swam almost daily for 3 weeks leading up to the race. 1,200 here, 1,500 there, etc . . . I fell in love with swimming. By the time Louisville hit, I couldn’t wait to get in the water.
That frequency turned me into a fish. I hit the river with zero fear on my way to a relaxing 1:06 Ironman swim that left me full of energy for the bike.
Thinking you have to be wiped out after every workout is a bad theory. Ironman training puts us in a chronic-fatigue-state as it is and trying to add to that pain is masochistic.
For me, training hard means being frequent and strategic about what I’m doing.
I am always looking for ways to get faster and stronger, but with the purpose of making everything easier. Improving my stroke in the water, run stride, etc… The minute my form falls apart or I feel like the workout I’m doing will ruin the next few days, I’m done.
Consistency is how the body and mind learn. Sure, we can stay up all night cramming for our “test,” but building and retaining small doses along the way is more effective, and frankly, a lot more enjoyable.