Training for a race or a long ride follows certain cycles. You don’t always train hard; sometimes you take it a little easy so your body has time to rebuild. There are times when the training calendar says “rest time” and you really don’t feel the need for it. There are other times that you are counting the days or workouts until you hit a rest cycle. There are occasional times where your body tells the calendar that it doesn’t matter what it says, it’s time for a rest cycle. That is pretty much what happened to me this last week.
I had a great week the week before and I was looking forward to finishing my bike fit. I had gone to Tolland Bicycle to get a professional bike fit done and I highly recommend one if you have never gone through it. I was always skeptical of paying money for someone to tell me if my seat was too high, but I was really impressed. The shop took almost every imaginable measurement of my body, my bike, and how they fit together. They changed almost every aspect of my bike and it truly fit better when I left. My only lingering issue is my seat. As any cyclist knows, especially male ones, the saddle is the most frustratingly difficult bicycle part to deal with. I know some cyclists who are still searching for their perfect saddle years after finding their perfect bike. On Saturday I went and grabbed a test saddle confident that I would be narrowing my search down and rode strong despite a tickle in the back of my throat.
By Monday I could barely climb out of bed to go to work let alone ride my bike. I felt like someone wrapped my head in a pillow. I was stuffy and totally disconnected from anything. Tuesday was barely any better. Wednesday I tried to ride, thinking the worst had passed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s Sunday now and I am finally feeling better. I am going to get back on the bike tomorrow and see what happens. Hopefully I will be able to get back to some training, although the timing is going to be a little rough.
Last week was supposed to be one of the more intense weeks of training for me. It was the last full week before three straight weeks of events. This weekend I have the Hartford Parks Tour ride. It is only 25 miles, but there is a second ride on Sunday that I am thinking about doing as well. The following weekend I have committed (or should be committed for trying) to running the Rugged Maniac New England. It is only a 5 K race, but there are eighteen or so obstacles throughout the muddy race course that I have to negotiate. The very next weekend is 60 plus miles of cycling on Martha’s Vineyard. Due to some travel complications that trip will be done in one day. One very long day. This week was supposed to be my “rest” week where all I did was some gentle spinning to keep the legs limber and used to working. Now I am not sure what to do.
This all happened because my son started preschool. I am sure that anyone reading with kids will instantly understand now. Those without children, let me warn you what will happen if you ever have kids and let them spend time with a bunch of other kids. All kids carry some germs, but everyone else’s kids carry superbugs. Your poor child will go to school for the first time and within a week contract some form of toddler black plague and pass it directly on to you, the unsuspecting parent. You will be so wrapped up in being proud of your child for going to school that you will never suspect you are about to contract the super flu directly from patient zero. A week after they start school your eyes will be running, your nose will be running, and you will feel like you should really call the CDC to let them know where the outbreak started. It ends quickly, but you still feel like someone should have warned you about this during the school’s open house or in some type of pamphlet from the school nurse or something.
Now that I feel better I realize that I managed to put myself in a little bit of a hole and I am not sure how to get out of it. Should I attempt to train my way out of it? I am no professional athlete, but my first weekend of events is not much more than a normal training weekend. Maybe the best thing to do is to treat this week and weekend as my final run up to the real test, the Rugged Maniac. I could take a rest week or at least a light training week before I run that and then start the cycle back up again so I am ready for a longer training ride when it is time to tackle the 100 kilometer Martha’s Vineyard ride. That sounds great except that I have never ridden that distance before. At the same time, I have done 45 miles and this isn’t that much further. Yeah, I don’t believe that either, but I am trying to stay positive.
I could also just take this week as a light training week and go into the weekend rested and ready. That would be basically admitting that I am not going to be ready for the Rugged Maniac, and that is probably true no matter what I do, so why fake it? The real goal there is to not get injured so I can still ride on Martha’s Vineyard the following weekend.
What would you do? Have you ever been behind the eight ball when it comes to getting ready for events? What have you done in the past? Let me know and I’ll include some of the best answers in the follow up post in a month when I know how everything shook out!
One of my favorite fitness experts, Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser has a tag line: fake it ’til you make it. I am partially putting this idea forth to you, but only so far — I would never encourage faking it (pushing) so much that you get injured. What I am saying is you should definitely stay positive and see what’s possible. Don’t just resign yourself to “won’t be ready” — sure, the reality is that you might not end up top notch, but do you want to phone it in? I think everyone, EVERYONE falls behind the eight ball from time to time. For me, when this happens I reevaluate what is and what can still be done, then attempt to execute from there.
I wasn’t thinking of mailing it in, though I can see how you could get that from what I said. It was more the idea that the training cycle would be off and I would likely fall flat. I should have trained much harder than I have and I really should have practiced running more, but that ship has sailed.
Joe, face this the same way you do everything with a can do attitude and a sense of humor and you will be fine. Have fun!