I’m convinced that I am the first triathlete in human history who really doesn’t need a day off from training. Of course, all the wisdom of experienced triathletes applies to everyone else; it just doesn’t apply to me.
It’s nice being the one and only exception to the rule.
A Day Off? Are You Kidding?
People tell me all the time that I need to take a day off, but they don’t realize that this logic is not relevant in my case.
For me, when an injury comes along I just “work through it.” And when I don’t seem to be improving, I take it as a sign of needing to train harder.
Overtraining is a myth, probably created by someone who couldn’t handle the rigors of triathlon training.
For me, there are only “lighter days” (read, days when my training is .0005 less than normal). I openly admit to once actually considering a day totally off from training. I lasted until 2:00 p.m., and I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided instead that a later day would actually be better, but that later day never came.
From a certain perspective, not taking a day off makes complete sense. For example, if I want my 9-year-old daughter to become a better reader, do I tell her to read less? Or would a piano teacher tell her students that the way of improving is to cut back on their practice time? Of course not! Practice makes perfect, and more is better!
I’m fully aware that some triathletes say that undertraining is better than overtraining, but that reverse psychology stuff doesn’t work on me. I know full well that taking a day off could well jeopardize my entire year of training.
More Is Better, Right?
Lately I’ve felt fatigued and irritable, and seem to be losing strength and endurance. I haven’t been sleeping very well, and I’m popping Ibuprofen around the clock. Despite all this, I know it can’t have anything to do with over training. So, I drink one more class of orange juice in the morning for breakfast, and keep trucking. I’m sure I’ll get over it in no time.
Let me just be clear about it; I’m not one of those wimps who needs to concern themselves with stuff like resting and recovery, and all that nonsense. For goodness sake, that’s why they call it IRONMAN! If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I never once heard a Lance Armstrong interview where he droned on about all his days off. No, it was all about all the training he did that others weren’t willing to do.
You want to be a triathlete?! Let me simplify a training plan for you: push yourself as long and hard as humanly possible in every training session. This isn’t cheese rolling, okay? If you are all worried about overtraining and days off, maybe you should take up coin collecting for a hobby, but don’t think about getting into triathlons.
My Day Off From Training
This morning I woke up and decided I was, in fact, going to take a day completely off from training. Therefore, I thought it might be a perfect day to write a post about it. So, here goes:
Consider taking a day off occasionally but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t.
Did you like it? I hope so.
I guess it is a bit disingenuous, since I plan to postpone my day off and go biking as soon as I finish this post. Heck, I might just go ahead and do a long run, too. Well, if I’m going to bike and run, I might as well swim first, and I can make it a little mock triathlon. This really wasn’t on the training plan but I think it’s good to depart from the plan to remind your body who is calling the shots.
Anyway, let me know if you’re also one of those people who don’t need days off. It might be good for us to stick together. Maybe I’ll start a club and see who wins the record for the most consecutive training days without a day off. You can use your triathlon event as a training day. Unless it’s a Sprint distance triathlon, in which case you may need to do a little more training in the evening. I guess the club will have to decide that one. I figure if I don’t take any days off I’ll eventually be ready to take on this.
I’m over 40 years old, but I don’t give up easily. It wasn’t too long ago that I was exploring the idea of doing my first triathlon. If I can do it, you can too! I'm proof that with a little determination and training, you can get a great deal of fulfillment participating in marathons, triathlons… even ultramarathons.