So what have I been doing the last 16 days? Nilch. Nada. Nothing. I was a bit stressed prior to leaving to Worlds because I had to get a lot of things done that were sitting around on my 'to-do' list. These included finding a place to live in California, insurance, renewing my passport (which was returned to me twice now because of bad pictures!) and buying a plane ticket home for the holidays. But now that these are all organized and done, I'm restless.
And I feel like I'm getting lazier by the minute.
I do have to say, though, that not having to ride the bike most days is enjoyable. In the last two weeks I've ridden a grand total of three (3!) times, for about an hour during each outing. I've swum a handful of days and I've ran on fewer occasions yet. I actually told Chuckie the other day that "my training starts Monday!" (yesterday) whether he likes it or not, because I couldn't take the lack of structure and my own indecisiveness about what I should be or could be doing! I'm not very good at turning my brain or body off. He looked at me and said, "OK, but come March, when you WILL be training big, and with some very fast people, and if I hear you even mention that you're burnt out, I'm gonna disregard it."
Basically it comes down to the fact that I'm already excited to start the new year and I don't want to get out of shape and 'fat'. When you're not training regularly the body feels sluggish and you notice a bit more lofty 'meat' on your bones. Laziness takes a stronghold of your daily activity. I'm sure if I got on my bike right now, I'd feel it for days! The truth is, I know what I have to be doing, sort of! I should be re-energizing, enjoying my downtime and doing other activities. But I have this negative talk in the back of my mind telling me that I'll be (or I am) out of shape...that I'm lazy and could be/should be doing otherwise.
Hmm, I think I need to fix this. Chuckie always asks, "Is relaxing supposed to come with guilt?" and he'd know best!
Thankfully, he does have some goals for me come December, including swimming 50k (!) during a couple of the weeks and slowly reintroducing consistency back into my running. Yes, I realize December is just one week away but in the meantime he wants me to choose if I want to do a workout or not. If I don't feel like it, OK, don't do it.
I find this the hardest thing to do because I'm of the mindset that "more is better" and if I choose not to workout, I feel lazy and become less motivated to do anything all day.
"That's the whole point," he says.
This brings me to the fact of being lazy is easy. One day off turns to two, two days turns to three. It's easy to fall into a downward spiral in both negativity and lack of activity. Now don't get me wrong: I thoroughly enjoy reading, watching TV and surfing the Internet. I just get scared about how hard it is going to be for me to turn the switch into training 4+ hours again each day, let alone being consistent. I'm scared of this lack of structure because it's hard to fight off the laziness factor once it takes over my life!
Basically it comes down to a few main points:
1. The 'off-season' is where you should try to rejuvenate your motivation and love for the sport. I was a bit burnt-out after Worlds but now that my life is getting organized I'm more motivated than ever to start training hard. Does this mean "off season" is over?
2. If you train too hard and too focused in the "off-season" perhaps it might be easier to burn-out mid-season. Peter Reid once told me that 8 weeks is about all the focus an athlete can truly maintain.
3. I have to learn to listen to my mind more than my body right now. I have some issues I need to deal with including: letting structure go, allowing myself to just do nothing sometimes, and ignoring the should/shouldn'ts and their associated guilt. I need to tell myself that the single most important thing I can do right now is trust myself and allow the daily training, or lack thereof, to be a no-stress situation.
4. I'm indecisive and am making the "off-season" far more stressful than "in-season!" I think I need to give Chuckie a break with my relentless what-ifs? and questions about what I should/shouldn't be doing and just CHILL!
But first, I go train!