Yesterday I heard a segment on the radio concerning bad habits that are toxic in relationships and it got me reflecting a bit on the habits I’ve picked up with training, good, bad as well as those that could come across either way depending on how you look at it (so like me to make everything about training!).
Earlier this year I had my first injury at 30 years old and it was very terrifying for the first time not to be able to do what I love. As a result of my fear, to correct the issue and never let it happen again, I turned to professionals (seeing 3 separate PT’s) and read a lot, researching online about prevention. I also picked up a coach realizing it was beyond me to manage things on my own without the knowledge of the physical component and perspective concerning the emotional aspect. I was very frustrated about conflicting information at the top level PT#1 – “what you need is light massage and STEM on the site of the tear”, PT#2 – “ultrasound and deep tissue massage are required and on a completely different area than previously treated”, PT#3 – “your calves are fine, it’s your running dynamics and muscular imbalances that are to blame…” I was ordered deep tissue massage to break apart scar tissue than told it is very damaging to the injured muscle. I heard stretching is good than was explained to that static stretching is the worst thing I can do. Conflicting information, one after the other, and from the most highly recommended of experts.
Not to go too far off on a tangent but the experience led me to practices which I am positive have helped build the momentum I am finally feeling in the last few weeks. I am listening to my body with a new respect that things can and will go wrong if I push too hard. I have been wearing compression on the calves when I run (despite being made fun of multiple times) and am sticking to flat soft surfaces (running loops exclusively on Ocean Ave dirt path or on a treadmill), following hard runs with ice. I have been rolling after most workouts (making it a time priority) and do the major stretches that were recommended to me and said to be safe. Most importantly I have been listening to my coach, doing every workout exactly as prescribed, recovering like a pro, and seeking interjection when my body hasn’t responded as desired. All seemingly good things!
Reflecting on my first statement about toxic habits and looking at things with a different lens I am contemplating my ‘progress’ differently. A strong desire to ‘be safe’ has left me doing almost all my rides on the trainer/runs on the treadmill, despite it being beautiful and perfect outdoors for the same activities. I’ve been deviating from opportunities to ‘stick to the plan’, passing on a charity century and ride to MT Baldy to watch the Tour of California with friends this past weekend to ride solo than lie on the couch instead. With the Memorial Day long weekend coming up I have been invited to a couple fun parties but am considering skipping out to get some massive scheduled workouts in.
Habits – training solo, passing on fun, making sacrifices for the ultimate objective.
Good/Bad – completely up to the individual.
I guess it’s all about the perspective. When you’re doing well and everything clicks it’s easy to question a bit the things you might be passing on however when the wheels come off and disaster mode strikes you’re quickly willing to do anything/pay anything to get back to where you were. My current coach has mentioned to me the importance of balance, saying it is important to layer training on top of life and not vice versa. The bottom line is I’m not complaining, I am so happy to be where I am. I’m just always thinking about if/how I can be a little better with my decisions, not to be a better athlete but on how to squeeze a little bit more out of my day, always curious what everyone else is thinking/doing as well.
Looking forward – Ironman Texas was just this last weekend and it was great to hear so many good stories between performances there and in Knoxville. Texas was to be my 3rd triathlon this season however, with the calf it’s now it’s late May and I haven’t completed one. With limited races the success of my season has been hung on only a couple events, mainly Ironman Lake Placid with the fall back of Ironman Lake Tahoe. I feel writing this post now was a good idea because it’ll be neat to look back in 4 months to reflect on the decisions I’ve made to determine how they’ve paid off.
10 weeks to go until Placid, I am very excited about the work ahead!!