I decided to for the month of January to go raw. As with all great things in my life this wasn’t something I woke up and decided to do, but rather a friend made the suggestion and of course I jumped in with both feet, not really looking to see where I would land. I’m truly blessed to have such great friends in my life that lead me on all sorts of adventures.
When my friend suggested going raw for a month my first question was, when do we start. Not because I was super excited, but because she asked me right before Christmas, and I had already decided to pig out within moderation at Christmas. When she said I could start in January, I was on board.
Then December started slipping away and January was looming just ahead and I went into full panic mode. I started eating everything in sight. I made special trips to the grocery store just to buy “sugar”… you know, my favorite sugary drinks, and chips, and candy all things that I’d never be able to eat again. My friend quickly set me straight. “The point you’re missing when thinking about Raw is that you get to eat whenever, and however much you want. If you’re hungry just eat some food.” What a novel idea.
But I grew up with the idea of eating three square meals a day with snacks in between. How would this new idea of raw fit into my lifestyle? When I finally wrapped my head around the fact that I wasn’t going to starve to death I bought a couple Raw Cookbooks for my Kindle and started perusing them. This was thanks to another little gem my friend laid on me, ”when your stressed out about something you don’t eat sugar, you do research.” Huh! For those interested these are the cookbooks I purchased: Raw and Simple: Eat Well and Live Radiantly with 100 truly Quick and Easy Recipes for the Raw Food Lifestyle by Judita Wignall and The Raw Deal Cookbooks: Over 100 Truly Simple Plant-Based Recipes for the Real World by Emily Monaco
So on New Year’s Eve day, I hit the grocery store with my list of ingredients I’d need for my new adventure. I bought a lot of similar things as normal; fruits, vegetables, nuts, but just in a greater variety, and larger quantities. And I bypassed a lot of things too; bread, granola bars, eggs.
I have to say with the right seasoning the meals have turned out a lot better than I thought. I definitely don’t feel deprived and this has probably been the easiest eating change I’ve made in my life to adapt to. It’s been fun learning how different foods pair together to change the overall texture and flavor. I’ve enjoyed making my own protein bar snacks, and venturing out into new foods to try – parsnips and turnips – not too bad.
Now I’m not going to say when my husband made Pasta Fagioli soup my mouth didn’t water a ton. And when I was at my brother’s house eating with his family and they were enjoying Baked Ziti I really did want to have a big plate also. But what I haven’t missed is that overfull feeling and the food sleepies after a big meal. I love having more energy and freedom from past food choices.
The adventure will continue. Share your new adventure of 2018!
The off season is a time to allow not only your body to recover but your mind also. Striving and training can take a toll on your over-all being and it’s okay to take a break. This doesn’t mean you should hit the couch and binge watch all the seasons of Lost, Stranger Things, and Grey’s Anatomy, while munching away on multiple bags of chips and cookies.
But it’s necessary to give your mind and body a break from triathlon. This is the time to participate in activities that have nothing to do with swim, bike and run. In the colder climates there are many options: skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating. In warmer climates it’s tempting to train all year because you have the temperate weather to be able. But you can still get out and do some hiking or roller blading or take to the water and try paddle boarding or kayaking. Focus on trying activities that get you out of the sagittal plane of motion and into the transverse or frontal plane. We spend so much time swimming, biking, and running in the forward motion that we need to allow our bodies to move in different ways to avoid overuse injuries.
The off season is a time to get back into the gym and do some strength training, or join a fitness group and try out a P90X, TRX, or Core de Force class. Join a local yoga studio and help your body recover from the long strenuous season. The added benefit of doing something other than the three disciplines of triathlon will give your mind a chance to recover also. Don’t focus on pacing and power outputs, let those numbers rest for the time. The numbers will be there when base season starts. But taking the time to recover will actually help you be a stronger, more focused athlete.
Many athletes worry that they’ll lose fitness if they take time off. And yes your numbers will tail off from where they were at the end of the season. But if you were following your plan during the season your starting point at the start of the next season should be higher than the last season, especially if you take the time to recover. If you continue to pound and make every workout every day the hardest workout you can do, your body will eventually break down and injury will be close to follow. Then you’ll have a major set-back that will put your starting point much lower than your starting point of the last season, or even the season before.The key to a successful off season is to enjoy yourself, stay active, and not over indulge in relaxing.
Goal was to go 17 mph. Just wasn't able to get it to happen. Felt like I was pedaling through molasses. Tough day on the bike. At 4 hours 30 minutes I was at the end of the gateway trail near my car and it took a long time to decide if I should throw my bike into the farmer’s field and call it a season, lay down right there and take a nap, or continue with the last hour and a half. At the end of the ride I felt completely shot. Everything just felt off. It took a long time to decide if I wanted to do the run. I seriously contemplated skipping it. Then I thought about just doing an hour. Decided I better do the whole thing as I'm going to have to do a marathon at the IM.
This is the entry during one of century training rides followed by a long run during my Ironman training. Every athlete is going to have training days like this. The goal is to not give up and push through these days and come out stronger in the end. On these tough days I go back to one of my favorite quotes by Greg Plitt, “Championships aren’t won in the theater of the arena. They are won in the thousands of hours of training and the five a.m. runs in the rain when everyone else is sleeping. That’s where it’s won. The heart of a champion is a light switch that’s always on – it doesn’t go on and off when someone’s watching – it’s constant.”
If you’re quick to give up during a training session what’s going to give you the drive to go through when the going gets tough on race day. Tough days in training are what you need to help you have the confidence to finish tough races. Training days aren’t just about working on your body and your muscles, but about training your brain and mindset. It’s equally important to have a strong mindset and a strong body because it’s your brain that will give up on you long before your body will.
Here are six steps to help you get through those tough training days and help you start to improve the strength of your mindset:
This is tough; I’m tougher
I’m not training to be skinny; I’m training to be bad-ass
Kicking my ass today, so I can beat yours tomorrow