My last post, recapped my final Triathlon race of 2016 Challenge Paguera Mallorca
Since then I have been enjoying a rest. Yes, you read it correctly, rest.
I had actually taken a two week holiday to Ibiza, after Weymouth 70.3. Originally we booked this holiday, as our wonderful Yoga teacher Collette and partner Pete were running a Yoga retreat over a few days, a 3 day yoga retreat turned into a 2 week holiday as Adams family joined us and in between we hired bikes and explored the island.
Yoga in Ibiza between Weymouth 70.3 and Challenge Paguera. Surely I was already rested?
Every morning started with meditation, 90minutes of Yoga and then a huge incredible brunch of whole food. A chill out int he middle of the day was then followed by more yoga. A beautiful way to spend a few days and I highly recommend a retreat to anyone wanting some time to relax.
Adam and myself hired bikes and explored the island, top place to ride
Beautiful Ibiza with the Connells
So in my mind I wondered "Will I need another break?"
My question was answered by my body and mind after Mallorca. I was knackered. My race season had started in May at the epic Slateman Triathlon, and ended 7 races later in Mallorca on October 15th.
So how long shall I take off, I wondered?
I read this article titled "Fluid Check' by Phil Maffetone
"First we’re told to drink lots of water because we dehydrate easily. Then we’re told too much can cause water intoxication and can even be deadly. It seems humans are the only animals confused about how much water to drink — all others drink when their bodies need it."
This got me thinking about REST. I think the above questions around, how much, when and what to drink also apply to the concept of rest.
When a dog is tired, it curls up in a ball, probably by a log burning fire and goes to sleep, when a hedgehog is tired, it finds a pile of leaves and nestles on in. Humans? and Triathletes specifically, What do we do?
Who would have thought, an end of season break could create so much confusion and generate so many inches of forum space.
How many days should i take off?
Should I do nothing, or is light exercise OK?
Should I start training again if if i am tired?
I fancy rock climbing, is that OK in the 'rest period'?
One of many things Sarah Pitts, at mostmotion has taught over the last few years is the skill of listening to my body and understanding what it needs.
The week after Mallorca, I slept, I ate and I worked, that was it. I had many plans; to visit friends, to do everything I never normally have time to do. To bake, to make birthday presents for friends etc etc. I did none of them. My mind and body said 'sleep and do bugger all'. So I did what it asked of me. In all honesty I didn't have much choice, I was shattered.
How long did I rest for? I'm not sure, I didn't count the days, or the weeks, I decided to go on instinct and intuition. When I felt more energy in my body, I went to yoga or I walked the trails to enjoy the autumn colours. This progressed to helping out at the cycle club cyclocross event, to having a go at cyclocross, to riding off road with friends. I often didn't bother with a watch, i just did what i felt like.
Enjoying doing, whatever i felt like doing with friends. For me, the mental rest is more important than the physical. I really appreciate getting out of the swim, bike, run routine and enjoying just being outside.
One of the things I felt like doing was a yoga workshop over in Manchester, called "Forest Yoga".
I was inspired to attend, having started reading Ana Forests book "Fierce Medicine" . I highly recommend it. My own journey of fixing my injuries, has led me to be intrigued by the way the body can heal and adapt. Forest Yoga, devised by Ana Forest combines yoga poses with native american traditions and influences from all around the world in understanding the body and mind. My impression was that it appears to break you down and then rebuilds you through a lot of strong poses, being held for a long time, utilising breathing and positive thoughts.
More info can be found at www.forrestyoga.com
After rest, I felt brilliant and I dived straight into bashing out the training.
Said no 'sensible' person ever!
I think this Tower 26 swim podcast provide a great summary in regard to their yearly approach to training. Before starting "training" they describe the "getting back into exercise" phase and a low intensity/ technique focus, preparation for training phase. I have enjoyed listening to the Tower 26 podcast by Jerry Rodrigues and Jim Lubinski. Their latest episode #20 "How to structure your off season" provide a great insight into this time of the year, regarding swim training for triathlons.
So I am easing myself back into training, under the guidance of my new coach Chris. First few weeks in, and I am sure he is already realising how impatient I am with my "When will we do more training?" requests. Got to keep reminding myself we are in the 'pre training' stage and a lot of training awaits, so got to be patient and smart. Big thanks to Coach Louise Barron, for the last 4 years, she has helped me progress as an athlete and has taught me a hell of a lot. So thank you Louise.
Enjoy your own rest and "off season" what ever that may look like for you