I’ve not blogged for a few weeks. It seemed a bit like tempting fate. To begin with, training was going pretty well, and I just wanted to get on with it. Easter gave me a break in Paris, mostly spent on my feet, but the return to training after that was when, in the current vernacular, it all began to go “tits up”.
Like most Masters athletes, I lead an occasionally very busy “normal” life when not pretending to be a superstar. That means that I have to juggle commitments to stick to a regular and planned training schedule. I’m not always successful with this, and my routine gets compromised, leading to days when a planned session gets missed, or two are crammed in close together. I also know the importance of rest, and often nag others about the simple equation that says training + recovery = progress.
My problem has been that these factors have been in tension lately. There’s also an equation that says (sense of obligation to train hard + diary) >;;;= (training + recovery). Or, at least, there is now. I just invented it. In other words, I missed some sessions, overcompensated (or so I saw it), to “make up for lost time”. The lost time relates to my calf problems (see earlier blogs), which at least seem under control at present. Time being finite, and continually subject to the real world, meant the perceived returns on that training without adequate recovery were poor. Obligation seems to be the enemy of rest, and therefore, one falls into a spiral of training when less than properly rested, not progressing, and kidding ones-self that keeping the training intensity high will break the spiral.
It never does, and it is always a downward spiral, too.
I returned to using the ithlete app on my iPhone. Only reason I stopped was that the battery on my wristwatch heartrate monitor and its chest-strap I use when training both ran out, and I took so long to replace them that I just got used to training without heartrate feedback etc. Ithlete uses signal from the chest-strap, so I stopped using that, too. The ithlete information seemed to be suggesting I wasn’t recovering very well from some sessions. I promised myself a few “easy” sessions that probably weren’t when I did them, and I began to see my ithlete graph steadily declining, and hitting the red zone too frequently.
This is a bad position to be in, just days before my outdoor track season for 2012 begins. My current strategy is to persuade myself there is no training gain towards next week’s races to be had from any session I put in this week – adaptation takes longer – and that I’ll cope by just keeping loose and well-stretched. Immediate signs are that this is working. The slight head-cold feeling, which I was writing off as the start of hay fever, has faded. I also got my first green (recovered well) line on the ithlete graph earlier this week. I think I may be sleeping better too.
Burnout is probably too strong a word for where I’ve been, but I certainly think I’ve put my fingers in the flames recently, and need to be vigilant.