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Ironman, Motivation

All Kinds of Crazy

Ironman is just 37 days away, and I’m a crazy nutcase.

I’m questioning my sanity for getting myself caught up in this mess in the first place, but since I’m stuck with it, I also have constant conflicts running through my brain. Am I overtrained or undertrained? Or neither? Do I take a rest day or squeeze every last hour of training in before taper begins? Will the slow and discouraging workouts I’ve had recently pay dividends or come back to bite me in the ass on race day? Will I have a rock solid nutrition and execution plan in place before race day? Do I shoot for the moon with my goals or dial them down to take some of the pressure off? CAN I DO THIS?!?!?

The lovely Katie wrote a very similar post on this yesterday (why do people always read my mind and then steal my ideas?!?) and it’s something I’ve talked about with her and others in recent days and weeks. I’m so anxious about this and all the other things going on in my life that I don’t sleep well and am tired for workouts and don’t perform at the level I’d like and this starts the whole cycle over again. I know some of this is normal, but it’s a far cry from the confidence and strength I had earlier in the season.

It doesn’t help that I watch friends training for this race and others and see them doing what seems like so much more than I am and then I feel like I need to cram and I have all these “what if” attacks about things I wish I’d been doing all along and I just feel like I might get to race day and regret not giving it more.

Trainwreck. I KNOW.

I posted about mantras a few weeks back, and I have to keep reminding myself of those little things to get me through workouts. Watching course previews and plenty of inspirational YouTube videos helps too.

(h/t: Justin)

I appreciate the “you can do it!” encouragment you all give me, but in a more practical sense, what do you do when you start falling apart several weeks out? Mantras, training strategies, sleeping tips and offers for hypnosis all welcome.



14 thoughts on “All Kinds of Crazy

  1. ok, you’re a fucking disaster (also, the link to my blog doesn’t work, you need the www).

    so here’s the thing. i’ve been talking to a lot of coaches about IM training, and the one thing they all say is how hard it is mentally. they say, you’re going to feel tired all the time, especially around peak weeks. you’re going to feel slow, like you’re losing your speed, you’re going to either feel over or under trained pretty much all the time. and here’s my addition to that. ignore what other people are doing. do you eat their food? wear their shoes? sleep in their beds? no. you are you, and you are doing YOUR training plan, and you have GOT to trust that it’s going to get you to the finish line in one piece. there’s too much going on for you right now to start worrying about what everyone else is doing. don’t read the blogs, ignore the twitter idiots, do whatever you have to do to keep it all out of your head. and you know that IM training is different. you need the slow workouts. you need the endurance foundation to get you through race day. (you know all of this but clearly you need reminding). someone told me 90% of IM training is in Z2. stop saying “slow” and start thinking “long.” what you really need to do is just keep pushing through until your peak weekend is here. after that, i say err in the favor of rest, but until then, i say work it, make it hurt, do it all until you want to cry. (i get hurt a lot, listening to me not always recommended).

    also. half a benadryl an hour before bed. or half an advil PM. when i’m stressed about training or do really tough evening workouts (i’m looking at you, NCVC), i can’t get to sleep without taking half of something. i feel bad because i hate putting drugs in my body but if it’s going to get me to sleep so i can have the energy for the next day, then i’ll do it. just a suggestion to consider.

    i hope you look back on this when you’re 3 days out from the race and you’re feeling happy and chipper and bright-eyed and well-rested because you’ve been tapering and laugh at yourself. and you can borrow my mantra but i’ll need it back when you’re done with it: your heart is a weapon shaped like a fist.

    also i can come over and beat you unconscious if you need me to. bc we’re friends.

    Posted by katie | August 4, 2011, 12:47 PM
  2. 37 days out I was definately nearing peak training and becoming a moody mofo. I was also about to leave for my training camp with my coach for HUGE crazy amounts of training volume.

    Just look back at what you have done this season and all of the successes you have had. Your body is basically beat down right now and that is why you feel slow, but you still have the fitness tucked inside of you. This is the period in which you are becoming an Ironman: Dealing with the mental vs physical games.

    Just remind yourself that this fitness will come out in full force in 37 days. And stop thinking about counting days! Just think about what is in store for this weekend and go from there. I honestly lost count of how much time was left and it really helped.

    Making dinner a night ahead of time really helped keep me sane when I got back from either work or a PM workout.

    Posted by Jon | August 4, 2011, 12:49 PM
  3. I wouldn’t worry about people “doing more” or whatever. You’re doing appropriate training based on what your race is and when it is. Maybe I swim more. Maybe it’s because I’m focusing on open water races. So what? Maybe somebody is running more. Maybe it’s because they’re training for an ultra, but don’t have to bike or swim or whatnot. You’ve got a training plan, and other people have training plans that could be out of phase with yours and cannot be compared to yours. And shouldn’t be. Just stick with the plan, adjusting here and there based on how you feel.

    Posted by Victoria (District Chocoholic) | August 4, 2011, 12:52 PM
  4. Talk to the person in this world who you trust the most. There are TONS of people who will give you all sorts of advice and guidance that will go straight in one ear and out the next. Go to the person who you will listen to and let it all out. Put your realities on the table…and then take a step back and say, “ok, this is what I have to work with” (you have a lot to work with!) You cant make the sun set at 2 pm and you can’t predict what will or won’t happen on race day. It is what it is and you will get swept up in it no matter what.

    Enjoy the taper!

    Posted by 321delish | August 4, 2011, 1:03 PM
  5. heh, I kind of like Katie’s twitter advice: CALM THE FUCK DOWN! Seriously, take a few deep breaths, think about how far you’ve come, what excellent shape you are in right now and realize that the hard training is almost over. A few more weeks of ironman training insanity and the TOTALLY NORMAL mental games and you’ll be tapering and feeling pumped for the race ahead.

    Posted by Beth | August 4, 2011, 1:32 PM
  6. Okay, I know nothing about long distance triathlon, but I can tell from reading about your training that you have put in a lot of work. So I feel pretty confident that you CAN do this. Getting into time goals is a whole different animal, but I would guess that now is not yet the time to really worry about those. Good luck getting through the remaining big weeks!

    Posted by Allison | August 4, 2011, 1:46 PM
  7. Katie might just be the best motivator/calm-er down-er/kick you in the butt friend ever. Listen to her. And ignore the rest of the world. This is your race we’re talking about here, not theirs. Think about what gets you excited and what relaxes you. Do both – you need both. Think about what it feels like to accomplish something so huge for the first time. Go with that. Think about everything you’ve done to get to this point and how much more you’ll do over the next few weeks. It’s a lot, and it’s awesome. And think about how you can absolutely effing do this – sorry, it just has to be said 🙂

    Posted by Amy | August 4, 2011, 4:47 PM
  8. I should win a gold medal for falling apart (whether due to injury or just mentally doubting myself), but I am still working on the keeping it together bit 🙂 The best thing that I’ve found is to write everything out — your training plan, your race plan, your nutrition plan, your concerns, your “brags”, just get it all out on paper. When I do this, and then go back through it, I instantly realize that I have a lot of contradictions. For instance, “CONCERN: I am utterly clueless when it comes to nutrition. I can’t fuel myself and I will bonk. I’ll die on the side of the road and my family and friends will find out days later when they find my body” and then I look at my nutrition plan and it’s right there, tried, tested, and pretty likely to keep me alive. Granted, it could always be improved, but it’s something. Now I’ve never done an IM, but I’d imagine the concerns are similar. Just know that you have put the training in (we’ve all read about it on your blog and twitter!) and you will PR IMWI 😀 Good luck with the last few weeks; I have confidence you’re going to rock it! Oh, and I second (third, I guess, after Beth) Katie’s advice: CALM THE FUCK DOWN!

    Posted by tri_ninja | August 4, 2011, 4:57 PM
  9. I was totally in the same position a few weeks ago. I was struggling big time. I emailed a few friends for advice and Colleen @ Irondiva followed up our conversation with this post: http://cbkingery.blogspot.com/2011/06/ironman-cycle.html I highly recommend reading it.

    You are going to have highs and lows in the training cycle. It is the training that makes you an Ironman/Ironwoman – the race itself is just a celebration.

    You got the training in and you are going to do awesome. I have no doubt about it.

    Posted by Kevin | August 6, 2011, 10:38 PM


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