When I first decided to do a triathlon I just thought there would be a swim, a bike & a run. No big deal, right? Well, I've since found there is a 4th aspect to triathlon, which is nutrition. The longer distance you do, the more attention you need to pay to what you put into your body relative to your output; you will burn more than you should put back in to your body.
I really only did sprint triathlons until I jumped up to the Santa Barbara Long Course - I completely skipped an Olympic-distance event altogether (by the way, I am way off course of my thought process here, but bear with me . . . ) so my nutrition did have to change somewhat. It mostly had to change because I was essentially training for an Ironman, but I wasn't "training for an Ironman"! I was just hanging out with some of my favorite people on the planet, who happened to be actually training for an Ironman. So, if I wanted to hang with them . . . then this was what I had to do!
Thus I learned that nutrition was a major part of my triathlon life & I had to pay very close attention to it.
What I did not really have to pay close attention to was the mental aspect of all of it.
For instance, let's say Vit & G-Money had a 6 a.m. training swim of 4,500 yds. Well, I would much rather sleep in or maybe just swim 3,400 yds instead . . . after all, I was not training for anything in particular.
Don't get me wrong; I did 6-7 hour bike rides, swam & even did long runs. But there were definitely days I would take a "pass."
Well, now there are no "passes" to be had. There are no sleep-ins & no short swims. There is only hardcore, nitty gritty, teeth-gnashing pain & suffering!!!!
O.K. . . . maybe not so much all pain & suffering, but let's face facts: some days are just downright tough. Some days require all of my concentration to remind me of what my "big picture" is: What is this all for? I signed up for this & I need to be enjoying every minute of it. The good - the bad - the ugly.
Recently I read in one of my triathlete magazines that we should work on "quieting our mind" - this way our muscles can focus on working. I have been able to do this. It works pretty well. Except for the one tiny problem that I have . . . I can't seem to shut my mind up for very long!! I pretty much talk constantly to myself - both out loud & in my head. I will sing songs to myself. I will tell my legs to keep on moving to get up the hill. You name it & I tell it to myself.
When I get really ticked off, go ahead and try honking at me . . . I dare ya!
Seriously, the 5th aspect of triathlon is fo sho the mental training it takes to get to race day - let alone what it takes on race day. I have never done a full Ironman but I have done a 70.3. And there were parts of the race where I felt like I was going a little cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
Today I trained indoors on my bike with Coach Troy. We rode in Louisville, Ky. It was a lovely day. We rode 3 hours, 26 minutes for a total of 75 miles. (Sure wish I could do that on the street!) My BFFTPFL Vit was out of town so I was on my own, which is good training since he will not be by my side during my Ironman. It started out a bit shaky, eased up, then I had to pee, got OK again, I tried to quiet my mind, that lasted a few minutes, tried different hand positions, peed again, drank, took nutrition, etc. In other words: I really had to mentally push myself to get through this one. I did it & felt really good in the end. (Well, not "the end" - if ya know what I mean . . . )
I know there are going to be a lot more days like this - especially as the training really starts to increase. I am still unable to run due to that dang ankle injury, but I am doing physical therapy & started aquajogging. Keep your fingers crossed.
I am going to be paying close attention to keeping my mind quiet & working on my mental training. I can see that it is ULTRA important, so it will be worth the investment of time - and in my case, energy - to work at SHUTTING UP!!!! and just training.
Let's get to it . . .
Much Peace & Love,