Triathalife

Pinch me. Is it really the end of May, already? Time since January has evaporated. My words and posts must have evaporated, too.

This break from writing for inTent, was unplanned and has felt beyond my control. My training didn’t come to an end, but it often didn’t match my training plans during the 2nd half of the off-season. What happened?    My life.Triathalife

Triathlon training is a juggling act – the natural state of training in three different sports. And sometimes life throws in more, additional (curve) balls than it’s possible to juggle without something dropping.  This has been my 2014.

While managing family challenges this winter and spring, I missed workouts. Frequently, I easily blamed our ridiculous winter, pool closings, etc. But a good deal of time, my body felt fatigued and I just didn’t “have it” that day. I was in my head a lot, trying to figure out how to get re-inspired and questioning my motivation and my commitment to my goals. I was always hoping the worst was behind us and that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. But 2014 just continued like a roller coaster ride.

About a month ago, I changed tactics and decided to accept my circumstances as my new norm. I looked at the big picture of my life and my personal values.  Understanding my intentions as a parent, provider, and athlete helped.  I went through my calendar and emails that were waiting for replies and started pulling back from the number of things I was trying to do. It wasn’t easy; I like to help people. But being halfway involved wasn’t really helping anyone. Being realistic about the time I have available for my whole life, has helped a lot.

I grabbed a Triathlete magazine on a recent flight to visit my 94 year old grandmother. The Performance Paradox, by Matt Dixon was the perfect read for me to put all of my 2014 experience with stress into a healthy perspective.

[For amateurs]…the goal is to maximize sporting performance within the restrictions imposed by the need to maintain a balanced and successful life. After all, if you win your local Olympic-distance triathlon but  you get fired, or your spouse leaves you, or your house is repossessed, it would be hard to argue that the win represents “success.” Thus, for most of us, success can be more broadly defined as improving in the sport, performing at work, thriving socially, and nurturing positive relationships (with spouse, partner, children and friends).  With this outlook, the goal of the amateur triathlete should be to maximize training load as one part of a vibrant, passionate and engaged life.  …the full picture of your life inside and outside sport [is] your global stress environment.  The amount of training you undertake needs to fit within the constraints of that environment in order for you to be successful.

Unintentionally, I’d been balancing my global stress.  There were simply periods where my recovery was slower and where non-training stress was enough to create fatigue. This is my triathalife. My training is just “one part of a vibrant, passionate and engaged life.”

The Performance Paradox article was based on elite triathlon coach Matt Dixon's forthcoming book, The Well-Built Triathlete.

 

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeff says:

    Finding this balance is so important, and I think lots of us triathlete-types struggle with it. As much as we would like to be able to do it all, it’s usually not realistic. Thanks for posting the excerpt from the copy of Triathlete that’s been hanging out, waiting for me to read it for a while now. 🙂

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks, Jeff. There were a couple of good pieces in this issue. I also liked “Why ‘Hard’ Courses Are Easier” (page 66)

  2. excellent take on a struggle for so many (or at least the over-committed). This works whether it’s about riding horses or any outside passion that consumes time. Balance. Your wonderful introspective skills have served you well to straighten out the tilt and return to balance.

    1. Alex says:

      You are so right! It really applies to many things. Our passions hopefully enhance our vibrant lives…not add stress.

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