Monday, February 11, 2008

I was afraid she was going to say that

I have a bad habit.

Maybe you have it, too.

If you're a triathlete and busy and sometimes a little crazy, to boot, you probably have done this in the past. Maybe, just maybe, you've let it turn (as I have) into a bad habit.

Trying to pick up missed workouts.

Sound familiar?

This morning I shot the Elf an email about this week, asking if I should try to put in a missed swim session or find time for an extra "long" run. You see, my swim suffered last week with only one (gasp!) session and I had to cut my long run yesterday short since I'm feeling el crapo.

So my learned response is to add something to the coming week. You know, the one that already has 11 1/2 hours of training in it? Intellectually I know that's a stupid idea. First, there's no room. Second, jumping from the 7 or so hours last week (lower than planned) to more than 12 would be a second dose of stupid. Third dose? Take your pick -- potential mid-week burn out, injury, illness...the list goes on.

But that's not why her message hit home.

"Don't go back and pick up workouts -- just keep moving ahead."

Between those lines reads something more important. Implied there (and these are my thoughts, not the Elf's) is that don't assume when you miss a workout you can find another time to fill it in. Even if the reason is quite valid, your decision to train or not to that very a terminal decision. No adjusting later. Finit.

That's a hard one to manage for me. Not because it's unreasonable. More so because in the past, I've allowed myself some wiggle room in my weeks. It's a habit I picked up when creating my own training schedule last year, but I've carried it forward, so to speak. In a subtle, sub-conscious way, I've allowed myself to say justify moving things around in my schedule, thinking I can make them up later. As if time will magically appear later in the week. Or somehow my body will begin recovering at twice the rate, so I can do twice the work.

Again. It does make any sense, but nonetheless I've managed to craft a habit out of it.

And having a coach will break me of this habit.

First off, she'll say wise things like, "Don't go back and pick up workouts -- just keep moving ahead." Indeed.

Second, I'll feel the actual impact of a missed workout the moment it becomes missed. Without allowing myself to move things around (on paper or in my mind), the full weight of that decision will come at that very moment. I wonder...will it change my mind? I wonder...will I start finding another way or being more creative about solutions to get my training on?

You can guess what I suspect will happen.

So, I'm adding a goal to my current list. To break the habit of moving my training at the expense of my training.

Anyway, this certainly won't work if I'm perpetuating bad habits, right?



LBTEPA said...

It's so hard - but you'll learn it, and be stronger for it mentally as well as physically.
My dear mother used to say, which (thing you have to choose to do) will you remember when you're 80?:) That's why I never iron anything
How's that nasty bug? I hope you're

Megan said...

I learned this the hard way - but it is a hard habit to shake. I just feel so guilty at knowing that I missed something. But in the end, I tell myself that one missed session will not comprimise my overall fitness - now 15 or 16 might.

Comm's said...

i missed most of last week being sick. I keep thinking of three a days to catch up. its not worth it, it invites a breakdown later.

monica said...

such a perfect time for me to read this post!!! last week i'd had a really hard and already physical day at work. the day started early and the location was far enough away that i couldn't get my swim in before work. no problem, i'd just swim and run after work at the gym. but by the time the day was over, i was falling asleep at the wheel on the way to the gym and thinking, "this is just insane!!" so i bagged the workouts and also tried to figure out how to catch up. i had to call 3 different friends who've already done ironman just to validate that i made the right decision and that catch up was a bad idea. to me, if i can get 80%-90% of it all in, then that's success. after all, we're not pros getting paid to do all this!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post - I've been sitting ehr all day trying to work out how to squeeze 2 days worth of training into 1 - not having much luck, so now I must just move forward instead!!

Leah said...

Great post! I do this all the time and it's a bad, bad thing. It's all about forward progress.