|More Night Maneuvers|
I (of course) got immediately defensive. But I knew he was right. My volume hasn't decreased that much over the last month. I'm only going to be a tad short of 40 hours for November, which has less to do with cutting back and more to do with taking time off while sick.
The truth is, I don't know how to take time off. I have a vague idea that any good training regimen calls for athletes to take it easy for a month at the end of the season. But I don't know the definition of "taking it easy".
So I did some research. And while opinions vary, the common recommendation is to stay active, but decrease volume, lose the heart rate monitor and work in some activities like hiking or mountain biking. This way, you can preserve an aerobic base, but give your body and mind a much needed rest.
Of course, these recommendations are given with the assumption that an athlete has come off a season's worth of structured training. But thus far in my career, I've done little structured training. My training has consisted of swimming, biking and running purely for the joy of it. Sure, I reduce my volume every 4th week and occasionally run or bike up a hill twice. I also modified my swimming workouts a few months ago to be more drill focused. But I've never lived and died by a strict daily training plan.
So far it's worked out OK. I've always managed to dig a little deeper when it's mattered and go longer or pull out a better split time. But between Kovas' comment and poking around on the web this weekend, I'm starting to look at training differently.
In all honesty, a structured training plan scares me a bit. Because the thing about I most like about endurance sports is the freedom. And though I am careful to make sure I train in reasonable ratios amongst the 3 disciplines, I rarely take it further than what I mentioned above. Academically, I understand how a structured plan would be beneficial. In fact, it may be just what I need considering the concerns I had in a post last week about fitness gains in 2011. But at the same time I am afraid of being beholden to a plan and having some of the joy sucked out in the process. I don't want the party to end.
It's not the volume of training or the types of training I'll need to do. Time can be manufactured and I am not afraid of pain. It's the added layer of responsibility of having to do certain things at certain times that gives me pause. I'm married, have a 5 year old son, dogs, a mortgage, two car payments and a job - Isn't that enough responsibility? Apparently not.
I think I know what I need to do, and that's to try a structured training plan. I'm going to need to be stronger for the Hawaii 70.3 anyway. I was watching some video of the bike course. Between the long climb to Hawi and the wind it's going to require a level of riding I still need to get to if I want to race strong. And of course I'd love to go faster, who wouldn't?
Perhaps this is me maturing as an athlete. Yeah, OK, I had fun for two years doing whatever I wanted training wise. But I probably owe it to myself to step up my game a little bit and really see what I'm made out of. And if that means adding "structured training" to my list of responsibilities after my job, so be it.
So suck it up, buttercup. But I do need to get that rest in first.