Wednesday, June 6, 2012

how to not burn out.

age grouper triathlete, round 2 *ding!*

Now that I have been working a big girl job that has kept me busy for almost a year (my anniversary is on 7-11 day next month), I can ease back into figuring out how to be one of those working age groupers. I will admit I tried to take on way too much following the car accident last year, in my work life, triathlon life, and personal life, but being a chronic overachiever, I just thought I could do everything. Then we also got our puppy in January. Good grief.

Anyway, when things started to settle down somewhat and I decided I wanted to train again just a couple months ago, I made some pretty good rules to follow:

  • workouts after 5pm on work days are optional (although I try to get done by then on weekends too, if not by lunch time!)
  • workouts in inclement weather are optional
    • during winter, biking should be indoors only, and only if you feel like it
  • days when you have girl cramps during that-time-of-month, train as you feel. Or rest as you feel. And have chocolate ice cream as necessary!
  • emphasize morning workouts on workdays, but if super tired, sleeping in is ok!
I figure, it's not my job any more. I want to keep it fun and not have it add more stress to my life. One thing I didn't anticipate when I started working was how mentally draining it can be when you are dealing with the general public from 8:30am to 5pm (or longer if there are hospital calls). Remember that I went from not really having to deal with anybody as a full-time pro athlete (other than the random training partners when I wasn't being totally antisocial, and internet interactions), so it was a bit of a shock to go from being very reclusive to having to interact with so many people for so many hours a day again!

It is not just time away from training, but mental energy. Some days I get out of work at 5pm or 6pm feeling fine and ready to go, some days I have had to work with really needy patients that leave me feeling like I just did a half ironman or something. (A friend gave me a book about will power last year that is about research trying to quantify and explore this type of mental energy vs. physical energy. Perhaps I'll post more another time on it.)

Or my jaw is sore. I've come to realize my jaw gets sore when I'm stressed out (my previous dentist once said I must clench or grind my teeth at night, but only sometimes). I've notice my jaw gets sore on a certain occasions: finals week during school, when living with my mother (haha! not kidding!), and stressful days at work.

Don't get me wrong. I love my job and love working again. But I am better at listening to my body these days, and don't try to force more training than I feel like.

As far as winter burnout goes, I think it's actually luckily I live in an area that has real seasons now. I think California and Florida people have it both easy and hard, because you can train there the whole year, but you also get burnt out from training all year. I got burnt out living here and trying to train through the winter, when I had to do all my bike sessions indoors and swim by myself, because it was everyone else's off season (and I didn't want to slip on ice on the bike and die). So I've decided I'll cap my triathlon season before Halloween--that way I can have lots of Halloween partying fun, and that's before Daylight Savings Time too, when it gets dark before 5pm. And then chill out over the holidays. I might focus on more running throughout winter, and shoot for a fast marathon or something. We'll see. And not start racing triathlons again until June or July. Just some ideas. We'll see.

So maybe only 6 months out of the year, I'll be a triathlete. And I am only planning to go to races that are within driving distance for now (money and time constraints). As stealthy as I am about getting to fly my bike for free, it is still a complete PITA to haul your bike around an airport.

This morning I went up to Chadd's Ford to swim at Mac's pool with my old friends up there. It was really good to see them again too. (I used to swim with two squads, Mac's crew on Wednesdays and the Tri-Dawgs on Saturdays.) In fact it had been so long since I was there, that I found my favorite Georgia Tech hoodie I had left in the bathroom, and Mac pointed out that I had left a wetsuit there. Ha!!! I didn't really know where either had went. Now I have my 3 wetsuits from my time as a TBB athlete.

So that is all. Now I think my girl cramps have subsided and I can try riding my bike. (I had chocolate gelato yesterday, it definitely helped!) As yucky as it is to actually have a time-of-the-month, the upside is that A) it means you're not preggers, and B) it means you are not starving yourself (I had a few long stretches of amenorrhea during my training camp days) and possibly damaging your girl bits for when you do want to have kids (no, still NOT any time soon for me).

have fun and take it easy!

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