Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Take-It-Easy Blues

I’ve always said that any smart marketing program should do the exact opposite of what my own personal preferences or desires are. For as long as I can remember, my attitudes about most things have run counter to the prevailing opinion. I know – from reading training advice articles ad nauseam – that these months should be taken as R&R months. I recently read in a Triathelete magazine article by none other than Mark Allen that one should even allow oneself to gain a little weight and become “de-conditioned” so that one can reach a higher level of training in the next season.

So, here I am one week after my last race of the season, the Philadelphia Marathon, having just completed a long holiday weekend of relatively long rides (115 miles over three days after having swam twice and run twice since the marathon last Sunday). Every year at this time I find myself struggling to lay off of the training. Especially since the weather is not yet brutally cold, and I know that it will be in just a few short weeks. I always struggle with wanting to get out to take advantage of the remaining nice weather to get in a few more long rides with my cycling buddies.

This conundrum always makes me think about why I engage in the sports of triathlon. I’ve come to the conclusion that doing what is most important to me is smarter than following “expert advice” so that I can reach higher performance levels next year. I am very much a creature of habit. I absolutely love the routine of training. I also like to keep my body weight within a range band of about +/- two pounds on either side of 165. If I get lighter than 163, I notice that I start to feel weak. If I get heavier than 167, I feel bloated. The easiest way to accomplish this is to continue to work out year-round (with obvious volume adjustments, after all one simply cannot do ironman-level training year-round). Continuing to train keeps me happy, and the “lifestyle aspect” of this is more important to me than theoretically accomplishing a slight marginal performance improvement during the next race season. Am I insane for not wanting to take time off???

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