Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Post-race blues, a wedding, lots of cycling and more racing

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I’ve been a little quieter than normal lately. It seems to happen after most bigger races that I compete in; a kind of post-race blues. In one way, it makes no sense. After qualifying unexpectedly for the 70.3 World Champs in Mallorca, then quickly taking second overall at a local sprint triathlon just a week later, I should have been both over-the-moon and fired-up for upcoming races.

 

But, in truth, I wasn’t. I’m not entirely why I get post-race blues. Maybe it was a silly sense of ‘job done, you can relax now’ having raced reasonably well in Mallorca.  If it was, it shouldn’t have been! After all, if you’ve qualified for the World Champs in any sport, surely that becomes the real focus, not just the qualification process?  Or maybe I’m yet to realize/accept how much an event like a 70.3 triathlon takes out of me mentally.  I know plenty of other people who can race consistently at a high level week in, week out.  But maybe I can’t.  Maybe it’s just my personality to heap pressure of myself ahead of a race, then face the inevitable meltdown afterwards.

I’m sure people who are far more expert than me in the field of sports psychology would say that it doesn’t have to be this way and that there are things I can do to better manage myself both before and after ‘A’ races.  I clearly still have much to learn.

But the upshot this time round is that my enthusiasm for training took a big hit in the weeks after Mallorca 70.3.  I dropped down to probably around half my normal training hours for two-to-three weeks and I’m ashamed to say it was my swim training that suffered the most.  Put simply, of the three triathlon sports, it’s the one I enjoy the least, and so the easiest to skip.   It’s made even more easy to skip given that I work abroad regularly, and while it’s easy to pack a pair of trainers and head out the door of the hotel, swimming is a different challenge altogether.

Combined with work commitments and two (yes, two!) wedding ceremonies in the space of eight days, there have just been too many excuses not to train properly lately.

Thankfully, I think I am re-discovering my training mojo, albeit a little late!

I was lucky enough to spend last week back out in Mallorca (also lucky enough to be marrying a hot chick while I was there!) on the mountainous west coast, which gave me the opportunity to spend some time on the bike (and a little running and swimming) in warm sunshine.  It was just the tonic I needed and after 400km on the training bike (a 'new' Pinarello ROKH, loving it!), I feel refreshed and eager to return to training.

My coach Mark was a guest at our wedding in Mallorca and, while I didn’t get to ‘play’ quite as often as he did (I still had parenting, family and host duties to attend to!), we did manage to get out for a couple of rides together, including a monster day of 8,500ft climbing.  Cycling with Mark is good for my ego – specifically, it’s good for keeping my ego in check.  While I have the kind of mentality that wants to ‘PR’ every climb or fast stretch of road, Mark is far better than me at remembering the point of the ride – and so we mostly rode steady aerobic pace, only pushing occasionally on the climbs.  Hopefully this will have done the ‘engine’ some good.

So as I write, I’m back in the UK with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for training.  I’m even going to swim today (and did yesterday, too!), although that might be more out of fear than desire.

Why? Well, I have a race this coming weekend.  And then I’m supposed to do another next weekend!

CyclingFirst up, it’s the local Cotswold 113 race, a middle-distance triathlon based on a fast course just up the road from me.  It’s on the same course as the Cotswold Classic that I did last year (and did pretty well in).  With little training until last week (and most of that on the bike), I admit I feel really under-prepared and so my expectations are limited.  But hopefully we will have a nice day for it!

And then on 22nd June, my name is on the start list for the IM 70.3 race in Aarhus, Denmark.  I was lucky enough to be granted a free entry through a work connection. But as yet, I haven’t booked flights or accommodation!  Best get on it…  I think my procrastination was a by-product of my post-race blues from Mallorca.  But enough is enough and I just need to MTFU and get it all booked.

Meantime, if you’re racing Cotswold 113 this weekend, good luck!  I’ll be the one in a new bright green Endurance Junkie trisuit and bright green Skechers trainers.  Give me a shout of encouragement as you go past; I’ll probably need it!

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Matt Fisher runs TriathletesDiary.com - so it's all his fault! He pretends to be a triathlete, but really he is a husband, father and company VP. But he has raced for the GB Age Group squad a few times and is a 2014 qualifier for the IM70.3 world champs

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