After almost 3 months of very bumpy on-again-off-again "training" and rest, I am finally starting to get back into a rhythm. I basically hit complete shutdown at the end of July and after a few very unsuccessful attempts to train through, my coaches and I made the decision to just shut down the season. Fortunately, USAT has been really supportive and I am grateful that I had the time to recover now before we get into the heat of the race for towards London.
I'm now into week 3 of training. The hardest part is getting out the door right now. This has nothing to do with "motivation" or not wanting to train, but rather because I'm SO unfit, I know the sessions are not going to be easy or feel good. And, there is something to be said for the days when you workout and feel really fit doing so. However, after the advice of my very wise younger brother, I have been forcing myself to find a training rhythm. I am always so glad when I finish my training and it's just a matter of time before I'm back to feeling like myself.
Last week, my coach prepared a descending pace interval workout to see where my HR zones were at for now. I pretty much had an anxiety attack before I even attempted the workout. It had been so long since I did anything "hard" and I was feeling SO out of shape that I couldn't imagine I could even run at 6:10 mile pace. After telling me to focus on holding my HR and not to worry about time, I don't think my coach was all that surprised when I did the session faster than the initial plan. Lesson learned: relax and have fun. One workout isn't the end of the world and I am at the VERY beginning of a big build up to 2011.
I have also been really focused on my diet. I have totally broken my habit of eating cereal in the morning - I NEVER thought that would be possible - and I am now a huge fan of making "superfood" smoothies with my boyfriend. That and a nice sunny side up egg on a slice of toast is the perfect way to fuel me for a day of training. It's not easy to pass on all of the "junk" that is so easily accessible, and it is certainly not helping me save money, but as an athlete, food is fuel, so I'm stopping at nothing to help get the right nutrition into my body.
Finally, I have been trying to remain "balanced" in the transition back to triathlon training. It's so easy to let it totally consume your life, but when you do that, the risk of burnout is increased 10 fold. Understanding that there is a long road ahead, I am balancing my training with lots of fun time and "alternative training" in the form of surfing!!! On top of being so much fun and a great adrenaline rush it actually compliments my triathlon training: paddling, core stability and propreoreception and balance... :)
So, with a few days left in my third week back, I feel like I am about 3/4 of the way up the side of the "hump" -- I have no expectations as to when I'll finally reach the peak, but I know I just need to keep plugging away, trudging through the bad days, head down, eating well and sleeping a LOT... and soon enough I'll be there.