Sweat from the Heart. Coach Bree’s blog on training, racing and life.
It’s been months since I have made a blog post. Today I’m going to force one out.
It never fails, I am driving in my car around town (being the best driver I can be since my company logo is all over my car) and the most brilliant blog topic pops into my head. Problem is, I can’t do anything with it. And then the thoughts flow, and it’s magical, and perfect. And then when I have a moment to jot it down – poof – gone. Like it never happened. This happens all too often.
Right now I have a quiet moment, so I am going to force this blog to come out. It’s nothing magical like I have in the car, but it’s still worth sharing.
Do you ever feel guilty, or even lazy, when you don’t have a race on the calendar? And then that awkward moment when you run into an athlete or even a friend, and they ask you what race you’re training for, and you respond, “not sure yet!?” Or maybe you give an honest “I’m not” answer, but then begin running wild with thoughts of how they are secretly judging you?
Well, I might be the only one, but I sometimes feel that way.
I feel guilty for not having several races on the yearly calendar. And then I feel lazy. Like I shouldn’t be enjoying the fact I get to sleep in on a Sunday morning.
And I hate when people ask me what my next race is. I know it’s small talk, but I hate the question and when I respond with “I don’t have a race coming up”, I feel like I’m being judged and then feel like I owe them an explanation.
Then I got to thinking. What’s wrong with not always racing?
Seriously. Do we have to race all the time?
Not only is racing exhausting, but wow, it’s expensive, too. And for some, it’s not possible. Life, work, family, etc.
For me, I’m a mom, a wife, a business owner, a coach, and an athlete. That’s a FULL plate. When you add racing to that, something gives. And sadly, it’s usually my wife and mom duties.
If racing is a passion, I believe you should pursue it, but with balance. Be careful. Because the very people who support you in your pursuit, are usually the ones that can be destroyed by it.
My Iroman was rough on Jeff and Cora. I was gone hours on end training. My athlete (who was also training for the same Ironman) and I talked one day about how much fun it is training for a full, but that it’s also very selfish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing to be selfish. We all have needs and desires and we should pursue them, but not all the time. Not every season. Be selfish in specific seasons. That’s when she and I decided that every other year was a good idea for full Ironman training and racing. You’re welcome to adopt our “every other year” plan.
But it’s not just full Ironmans, it’s half Ironmans, too! Half and full marathons as well! It’s the constant pursuit to always better your last effort. It’s almost an addiction. It’s more of a healthy than an unhealthy addiction, but still, be careful. Be balanced.
I love it when my athletes tell me they’re going to take some time off to recharge, to spend more time with their spouse, or family, etc. While I miss them for the few weeks or months they take off, I appreciate how they are getting their priorities right and taking some time to rest and recharge.
You cannot ‘go, go, go’ without taking some time to rest and recharge.
You know what I notice every time – my athletes come back stronger. They miss it (missing it can teach you to appreciate it more), they are mentally stronger (they have had time to think about things and approach their training and racing from a smarter perspective), and they are more dedicated (they know the specific season they are training and racing for, so they make the most of it without slacking).
It makes sense. And the more I noticed that as a coach, the more I believed it’s importance. Plus, your body will thank you.
You’re not missing out on anything. Stop stressing over the pictures you see on Facebook of all the awesome workouts your friends are doing without you and race results from races you’re not doing. Just enjoy being in a race free season and focusing on things you can do to mentally and physically prepare yourself for when you jump back into your next race season — things like stretching (increased range of motion and decreased chance of injury), strength training (a stronger body is a faster body), eating cleaner (better fuel for improved athletic performance), upgrading bike components (with all the money saved from not racing – hellloo power meter!), getting an updated bike fit (more aero = free speed) working on swim, bike or run form (efficiency = speed), working on your weaknesses, and the list goes on!
So next time someone asks you what your next race is, give a confident answer. Own your answer! Let the guilt and lazy feelings go! You have plans! Besides, who cares what people think? It’s your life, your plans – be proud of it and own it!
So what’s my next race? Great question! “I don’t know!” I say that confidently! 🙂