Being a newbie attempting her first half-Ironman this year, I am slightly petrified of not doing enough. I built up my training to about 10-12 hours per week very quickly, after just a few months. However, I think I have hit a wall in terms of quantity. These past few weeks, and after the half-marathon, it has been very difficult for me to maintain those 10-12 hours and I find myself frequently too tired. As a result, I skip some workouts and cut others short. I think part of it has to do with the heat, but some of it is probably related to over-training. Lately, I have been neglecting my swims, either skipping them or cutting them short. I have been enjoying my rides a lot, usually going out 2x per week for 40+ miles and doing one indoor 15 to 20 mile session on the trainer. I have been struggling with my runs, usually cutting them short after trying to go out too fast. Also, I have not been giving my recovery weeks the respect they deserve.
For instance, this weekend while going over my training "plan", I realized I was finishing what was supposed to be a recovery week, yet I did not do any "recovery". So I decided to skip my long run and second long ride of the week, and take an easy weekend. And not so surprisingly, my Saturday run was one of my best ones post half. The Sunday ride was nice and relaxing, and this morning, I had my best swim so far...I did 3,800 yards of which 3x800 in 14:08, 14:00 and 13:32 (!!!)
So... What did I learn from this? That I need to focus on doing less and doing it better... I still enjoy all my workouts (when I don't, I quit and go home). And sometimes doing a bit less, means I can do it better. I need to separate short/fast runs, from long/slow runs. I need to learn for shorter bike rides, not all of them need to be over 40 miles. Even though I love going out in the mountains for 3+ hours every change I get, my body gets trashed. And, I need to remember, that even if I neglect my swimming for a month, it's right there waiting for me, with very little loss of fitness, so no guilt trips...
I also need to remember to use sunscreen. I have accumulated a crazy amount of tri-gadgets that have helped me ward off the elements (helmet, sunglasses, X-Terra wetsuit...) but have been neglecting the very basics: protection from the sun. I am lucky to have a nice Mediterranean-style olive skin. However, I am already at my FOURTH sunburn of the season. Nothing major, just a bit of painful redness that dissapears within 24 hours. I did not even really lose any skin. But I know the sun can be harmful, and along with the olive skin I have a gazillion cute little moles that do not like the sun. So if you have some good sunscreen to recommend, that is not too icky, please let me know.
In the meantime, happy training and enjoy the sunshine!