Why I am giving up some goals and not doing weighted squats
I have been taking a break from coaching for a month and half already with my off-season unofficially starting about a month ago. This is the first year I have chosen to take a break, rather than being forced into a break due to injury or unexpected life circumstances. The interesting thing I am finding is that it doesn’t make it any easier.
I love being focused on a goal. I love the grit and the sweat and the daily effort of chipping away to accomplish it and then abandoning it as soon as it is achieved to reach the next level that I have set for myself. I love being in perpetual movement because I equate that with progress. If you aren’t moving, you are regressing, right?
The reality is, I need to take a break.
I need to mentally disconnect from my rigid training schedule and do whatever I feel like for a while. Whatever I feel like is turning into long, easy trail runs with friends, weekly mountain bike rides with an adventure racing buddy to keep my bike fitness up, occasional long hikes, and increased strength training. What it is NOT is looking at my speed, trying to hit a certain pace in a run or exhausting myself in a workout. I keep my heart rate in zone 2-3 and end each run feeling better than I started. I am currently at about a quarter to a half of my regular training volume and am focused only on maintenance.
A word about strength training – I have worked with personal trainers in the past to make sure that my form is perfect and I have discovered that my body just CANNOT with weighted squats and lunges. I found my right knee always acts up and the second I switch to body weight only and plyometrics, I improve. For that reason, most of my strength work is fitness classes, a daily workout from here or a muay thai class.
You know what else whatever I feel like is looking like? A few more glasses of wine, a lot more sleep and tons of more social time. It is an awesome time to rest and switch gears.
I need to take a moment and look at what I accomplished this year and CELEBRATE that I reached so many of my goals instead of abandoning them to reach for something more. I did SO MUCH this year. I qualified for world championships, won my category in an international adventure race, took the female win for over 5 races, PRed every race distance I raced and podiumed my first 70.3 IM. The crazy thing is, I would have looked at that in the past and felt like it wasn’t good enough because the fact is, I didn’t hit the time goals I set out for myself. I will be writing a post on that later, but my point today is that I am taking time to feel pride for the hard work I put in and am celebrating and reflecting on an outstanding year.
I need to assess what worked, what wasn’t that great and set some new goals for 2017. I need to give myself a break and time to reflect because it is just as much a part of moving forward as regular training is. I can’t get a fresh perspective on what I want to achieve if I don’t give myself some time to process everything. Not every goal I set was the right one for me now and I am letting some of those go, instigating some fresh ones and really enjoying the process.
I need to play with nutrition. Another thing I always do in my off season is work on nutrition. I do not play with my nutrition when I am racing. Ever. My goal is to feed myself adequately and so I never restrict. I crush gels, bars and protein drinks in training and down avocados, steaks and almonds in my daily meals. But then when off season starts, I allow my body to do whatever it needs to in order to re-balance. I eat nutrient dense food. I eat chocolate and bread. I drink wine. I go up a cup size. And I work with my nutritionist to talk about sports nutrition and revisit my meal plans. We look at what I have planned for the next year and start adjusting my training nutrition and make any additions or subtractions to my daily food. I will talk a little bit more about that as well over the coming month as well.
I will be back to intense training this December so I am enjoying some time off and getting excited to get back to it, refreshed and restored!