should I train today?

Over the past week, I’ve fallen victim to a strange new form of fatigue. Yesterday it peaked. In addition to feeling physically off, as the day went on, a vague fogginess tired sunk its claws more deeply into me as the hours ticked by. I was baffled. I’ve been sleeping and eating well. I’m training for a half Ironman, not a full, and I’ve been eating well. Sure I had three drinks with an out of town friend the night before, but that’s nothing new in our (P.D.T.-wannabe) household.

My first coping mechanism of the day was simply to bump my 6 a.m. swim to noon and go to work early, cutting out at 11:45 to swim my favorite noon-hour Masters session (fewer people in the lane, more time to focus on technique, and more attention from the coach). I had loose plans to try to squeeze in a run as well, but my second coping mechanism of the day ended up being to skip it. As I got closer to the tough run session I wanted to hit, the “let it go” voice got louder than the “you really should.”

Do I Workout Today?via Gym Junkies. I love that it references “Breaking Bad.”

After my swim I went back to the office and could barely stay awake. It was as if a slothful spirit had taken over my body. I did some half-assed errands after work, came home and ate dinner (leftover Moroccan lamb stew from Monday’s Game of Thrones finale party), and then went for a half-hour walk with Mark. It refreshed me a little, but I still hit the sack at 9:30.

Hey, at least I swam.

When I saw the above infographic floating around I felt like it was made just for me. (Wait, other Type-A triathletes obsess about this stuff, too?? That said, it’s surprisingly down-to-earth and tri-specific, even though it was presumably created for gym rats.) I’m not working with a coach right now, just making my training schedule up as I go along. This means that I frequently change my plans at the last minute. Sometimes it’s stressful. Sometimes it’s freeing. It means that when you miss a workout only you had expected yourself to do, you’re the only one left disappointed. As my pal Michellie Jones said to me last week at the pool, “A good coach teaches you to coach yourself.” Well said.

The results? My 5:20 alarm this morning sounded more cheerful than usual. (Actually, it’s “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles.) I made coffee, threw in the food I’d prepped the night before (Bircher muesli is wonderfully portable), and headed to Rose Canyon to meet the Thursday running gang. I banged out 9.25 miles with hills, speed, and a solid 3.5 tempo (7:45 min/mile) effort, and it felt like magic. Maybe I would’ve been fine if I’d run yesterday, but I’m not going to think about that now. Oops, I guess I just did.

How do you deal with fatigue? Do you feel guilty when you skip a workout on your plan? More or less so if it’s your own plan or someone else’s, given to you?

3 thoughts on “should I train today?

  1. Sheri
    June 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Yup. So true. Well said!! Trying to let it go while in Duck Bay.

  2. June 15, 2013 at 1:41 am

    I’m working under my own coaching, so I get in a similar situation. I often write plans with no rest days (I know, I know) and then a day comes along and I feel so awful, working out doesn’t sound fun AT ALL. So I decide to rest. I do this because it’s fun, and when it stops being fun, I know something is wrong.

    1. Jen
      July 1, 2013 at 6:10 am

      Megan, some coaches would approve of your plan. The last coach I worked with never scheduled a rest day. He preferred to encourage consistency, and if a day came where you started your session and just felt awful, well, then you could take the day off. So, sounds like you’re doing everything right! It’s so hard to find the balance sometimes between pushing (ie: “shut up legs,”) and “listening to” your body.