Trek Women
January 29, 2009

Two Too Many?

When I finished my las tri for the season last September, I put away my swimsuit and goggles in exchange for my bike and running shoes.  Who can blame me?  Faced with the beauty of fall weather, who wants to slide themselves into an indoor chlorinated pool for the sake of training.  I spent the fall cycling for enjoyment and running to improve my weakest sport.  It all paid off.  I enjoyed my time on the bike more than I ever have and did actually improve my running right into a new half marathon PR in November.  The swimsuit and goggles remained tucked away until Jan 1st.

When I started swimming again, almost a month ago, I swore my gym had installed a current of some kind along with extra thick and heavy water.  I felt like a fish flopping and gasping, swimming against a current. (And to think, when I started my road to triathlon, the swim was the only thing in which I felt confidence.)   I've spent a month silently cursing my loss of swim fitness, while massaging my tender triceps and sore shoulders.  But, at least I still had cycling and running, right?

After the half-marathon, I took two weeks off from running - I needed the overall break and some recovery time.  Then the holidays hit where my workouts were sporadic, unstructured and mostly about blowing off holiday stress.  It was exactly what I needed during December as a break from a more formal training routine.  On January 2nd, however, I twisted my ankle by simply walking (again, still amazing such a klutz can actually race 3 sports, right?).  I laid off the running, and besides, it had quickly become clear that I needed to reinvest myself in the art of swimming.  Then, two weeks ago I was able to return to running, or, as I'm sure it looked to the rest of the world, something known as "barely moving on a treadmill while gasping from the effort."

Every time I take one step forward, I take two steps back.  If I allow myself to focus on one sport, I rapidly lose the ability to have ability in the other two.  I'm the first one to say that triathlon in and of itself is one of the greatest challenges because of its three sport nature.  Very, very few people can naturally excel in all three areas.  Ask any honest triathlete and they will own up to at least one area being their weakest no matter how much training they put into improvement.  So, while I try to accept the realistic training hour limitations I have in my schedule, I am back on the wagon with all three sports so that I don't have to keep starting over.  But, juggling the schedule of three sports, especially during the winter, is constantly having me ask myself, is this two sports too many?  How do I balance out my abilities and know how to best invest my training time?  Coach Tom forwarded me this article awhile back that I revisited recently as I struggled to figure out my athletic balance and whether or not it is feasible for me to try and achieve my best in all 3 sports (or at least all in the same race).  Let me know your thoughts and if you struggle in the same ways with your training.

-Jen


PS.  And, to make matters funnier, because I don't mind if you laugh at my expense - all this specific training has left my strength training non-existent.  So, in a moment of endorphins overload I did some strength training last week and paid for it with Day After Muscle Soreness (aka "Help I can't lift my arms above shoulder level!") and Day After That Muscle Soreness followed by Day After That Day After Muscle Soreness. . . .    Laugh Away. . . .




Comments

Jenn, you always challenge me when I read your blog... I had an injury last year to my elbow that got me off the bike and I'm still struggling with it. My elbow / your ankle.

I tried spin class on Saturday (first time since a visit with an orthopedic last fall) and my elbow's been hurting ever since. I think I'm going to head to the Trek store with my bike and get them to help me be sure my bike's set up just right and then get one of the trainers to ride on at home. I can't get the spin bike where the reach is short enough (butt to handlebars) for me to ride more upright (taking pressure off the elbow).

With winter set in nice and firm around here, my thoughts are wandering towards warmer weather (at least no ice patches) and getting out on my bike again. I ordered some new capri riding shorts just to "beef up" my commitment!

Posted by: Ginger | Feb 3, 2009 11:25:26 AM

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