The two most exciting times for me in Ironman racing are 1) when I sign up, and 2) when I cross the finish line. In between those two times, perhaps six months to almost a year, come a lot of highs and lows. Lack of motivation and simply being tired of it all is perhaps the toughest of the lows. Being injured and sitting out training and racing is also tough, but it actually grows my desire.
As a serial Ironman competitor who will log 10 Ironmans within 5 years, I have experienced other periods of burn-out as I am dealing with right now. On my horizon is the ITU Long Distance World Championship in China, representing Team USA on September 21 and then the Ironman World Championship on the Big Island of Hawaii on October 11. I was invited to compete in both of these events because of my performance at other races. I am truly, truly honored. You might think this would be enough to motivate me right now. But……
The signs of burn-out are obvious to me: Extreme grumpiness (just ask Rick), becoming annoyed at everything and everybody, going through the motions of a workout and not liking any part of it. And I know what causes this: Training too much, not eating properly, not getting enough sleep. And the risks: Injury and throwing in the towel.
So, what to do?
1. Recognize that this is a normal part of my training cycle. It will pass in a couple of days.
2. Adjust my training, eating and sleeping schedule just a tad to get things back on track quicker.
3. Keep the faith, just like I do when I’m running and I want to walk. I know that if I just hang in there for a little while longer, the feeling will pass and I will be able to continue on.
4. Take in the excitement of my friends who are motivated and excited about their upcoming events. Get and give more hugs.
5. Smile. The “fake it until you make it” strategy can work wonders.
6. Write about it. (Thanks for reading!)