Friday, January 20, 2012

Visiting the dark places

Summer is finally here, and training 6 weeks out of race day is like a triathlete’s paradise: plenty to do, plenty to organize, lots to eat, lots of rest and you can forget about house works for a month or so. I am blessed with the best wife in the world, which makes things even easier. A few days ago I left for a swim, then work, then ride and then we met at the pool for a second swim, chillax and catching up.

On another subject, I often chatted to buddies training for long distance triathlons that every now and then they’ve been to a dark place while training. The reasons were many, the cold, the wind, the climbs, the intensity of the interval, the minimalist rest periods, the pace, the hunger, the thirst.

On 4 years training quite formally (over 8hr week), I’ve experienced most of the above symptoms at some point or another, however I’ve never thought of it as been in a dark place.

But all of a sudden IM training came along and I discovered a new meaning for dark place. It is that point where there are more reasons not to keep going than there are to keep going. Pain, heat, tiredeness, the elements but more importantly, the confidence that we’re more than ready already and changing or skipping one session is OK, and the same for the next day and the following.

This latter is the greatest of the dark places, because you cannot tell you’re there and you think you’re doing the smart thing. It is like radiation. You don’t see it or feel it, but it is there, and is very dangerous indeed. As the famous line from the usual suspects goes: the biggest trick the devil pulled is to convince the world he did not exist.

I had to pull myself out of that one a couple of times over the last month. Having someone with experience to talk, or calling the coach makes a difference, and changes the whole outlook.

More importantly, though, I am keen to hear from you and learn a bit more about this. What’s the darkest places you been in for endurance training?

1 comment:

  1. you are closing in the home stretch! I had same experience last summer. I found during that last 6 weeks letting go of other things (which it sounds like you are doing) houshold chores and the little things = so important. You are on track!