Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Skipping Workouts

I find myself in a situation that I have never been in before. A sort of structured off-season.

I am not training for anything in particular. I am not being coached until January when I start with QT2. I have nothing really to work on, but I want to stay active to avoid a backslide.

Last year, after Syracuse 70.3, I went on the ultimate lazy girl streak for probably 1.5 months, where I ran twice in that entire length of time, and otherwise spent my free time eating, drinking, and on my couch streaming episodes of Dexter. I'm not going to say that it wasn't fun, but when I started back up with Mary in December, I had a terrible time getting back into a routine. I had gained weight, I had fallen incredibly out of shape, and it was hard to motivate myself to actually go outside in the cold weather when I had spent the past 45 days curled up in my Snuggie.

This year, I am trying to avoid that. I took 2 weeks completely off after Ironman Wisconsin (for recovery and sanity purposes). Then I started up my workout schedule again - the same schedule that I have been doing all year, minus the "long ride" and "long run" on weekends and with only two swims per week instead of three. This probably gets me around 10-12 hours per week, depending on how long I ride and run on weekends.

What I am not sure of is how strict to be with myself. Since this is technically the off-season, do I let myself feel guilty if I don't want to do a workout? Do I force myself to swim when I am tired (which is what I do when I am Ironman training)? Is it ok to substitute something else (yoga, riding Cherry, going for a long hike) for the typical swim, bike, run that I normally fill my time with?

I'm not talking about skipping tons of workouts. I am talking about a day here and there. When I am training for real, I try not to skip anything. The first year I trained with Mary, I think I skipped maybe 2 workouts altogether in the 6 months I was coached by her before IMLP. The second year (this year) I was a little worse, but not horrible. Sometimes it's hard with the work schedule I keep.

This week I am working overnights. My refrigerator died for the 2nd time over the weekend, so on Monday I called the landlord about it and she said that I would be getting a new one on Tuesday. Because I work nights, I asked if they could bring the fridge as late as possible so I could get sufficient sleep in. The guy showed up at 3:15, installed the fridge, and left by 4:15. At that point, I should have left for the pool but I felt like absolute garbage. I went back to bed, woke up at 6:15 pm, and that was it. No workouts. I could have run, or hopped on my trainer, but I just didn't feel like it.

And now, I am feeling immensely guilty about it.

Last Friday, I skipped a bike ride to nap before going to a haunted house with my friend. And let me tell you, that nap allowed me to have much more fun than if I were to have ridden my bike, not napped, and gone out feeling absolutely exhausted.

Last Wednesday, I skipped an hour bike ride to get my hair cut. However, I did run afterwards.

So, considering that it's the off-season, and I am maybe half-heartedly "training" for a Halloween 5K, at which I have absolutely ZERO aspirations of any kind of PR, is this behavior ok? Is it ok to want to sleep instead of workout (for once)? Or be social? Or run errands (i.e. get my hair cut for the first time since June???)? Or actually keep my apartment clean? Or try to cook meals instead of getting prepared food at Wegmans? Or read a book? Or stream Mad Men on Netflix to my new Blu Ray player that I love so much?

Am I the only one who feels massively guilt ridden when I don't get workouts in?

Is it ok to skip workouts in the Fall!?


  1. I'm with ya, but here's how I've decided to look at it - I say no to so many things and sacrafice a lot and burn the candle at both ends during IM training and people understand but saying no to happy hour and hair cuts and a clean appartment when you aren't training for IM or something specific is the difference between being dedicated and being psycho!

  2. Um, YES!! I aim for an hour a day active 6/7 days....doing what I WANT. I love tri training, but trying to force yourself to do the same routine will lead to burn out next season. My two something fun, but stay active. Definitely still run, swim and bike if you want to, but I think if you follow your same training schedule, why is it an off season?

  3. I always hate taking days off because I can't even enjoy them I feel so guilty. That said, you've completed (make that killed) two ironmans in the last four need and deserve to be flexible! Heck, if I finish next summer, I'm buying a snuggie and possibly never coming out of it!

  4. According to Peter Reid, Mark Allen, and Paula N-F getting out of shape is all part of the cycle... And if they are doing it, chances are you're OK doing it too. I wouldn't feel too guilty about taking days off. Check out #6.

  5. Don't forget - you did TWO full Ironman races in what, a 3 month window? You shouldn't feel guilty at all and you probably need the rest both mentally and physically now.

    FWIW... Last year I took December as an unstructured 'off-season' and my coach's advice was basically to try to fit in one swim, bike, & run per week *if* I felt like it, but otherwise to do stuff like yoga, skiing, hiking, walking, indoor rock climbing, etc. to stay active. In January I was ready to get back to the regular schedule!

  6. I've gotta do at least something each day to remain sane. It has all been pretty lightweight so far but I'm thinking of starting back up with some more structure on Nov 1.


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