#7 lessons in listening and patience

If you ever watch the coverage of IM Triathlon on TV, they’re always talking about the patience it takes to go steady…..so as not to “blow up”.  The goal: “make it a long run and a short race”……the idea here is simple….wait for it……really that’s the idea, just keep waiting until the right moment.

Well, this week I got a little taste of WHY the “patience of an Ironman” is such a highly regarded thing……and, well, when it’s force-fed, it kinda tastes like crap.

I’ve been “managing” (as we PT’s like to call the chronic state of tissue aggravation associated with an ultra-stubborn athlete who won’t let the body get completely better) a cranky L quad tendon for a while now…..for the non-anatomists….it’s the area just above the kneecap that attaches the big thigh muscles to the knee (and ultimately lower leg).  It has good long bouts and it has it’s squeaky-wheel moments……but it’s one of my limiters for sure, just a little too fragile to push 100%, which is a frustration…….last week I rolled the dice and ramped up the training…..and this week?  I ramped it back down.

Woke up Tuesday a little sore and the quad-tendon and I talked about it off and on throughout the day.  Got in a fair swim and a solid tempo run, but it definitely started to raise its voice on the treadmill.  By Wed, it was chirping.  So the mental dilemma sets in:  “Get tough and push through it” vs. “listen to your body….patience now will result in gains later”.

And so, an Advil and a day off…..after all, if you’re going to preach it, you should live it right?

Triathletes are known to shave legs,
but this is just over the top.

Thursday comes around, feeling like a CHAMP!  The body loves some anti-inflammatory and rest……What better way to celebrate than with 70 min of swimming and 90 of running (which was down from 155 min)?  Yeah, the 25-ish degrees of running outdoors, not such a good choice (what’s worse frozen toes, thawing toes or those toes? —->); 

But the knee felt OK for about 80 of the 90 minutes……not breaking any speed records, but got some time in and so it goes.  It’ll be 2 fwd, 1 back for another few weeks…..but I’ll “manage”.

By Friday I was feeling better but still just stiff enough to know not to push it if I was going to get in my long ride on Saturday, which was more important than Friday’s 60 min spin.  Couple that with a the “last-stand” of my annual cold and it was time to exercise caution and go with another Advil (just to be sure) and some gentle stretching to go with my “relative” rest.

And so, Saturday gets here:  3.5 hours on the computrainer and some (optional) strength work to mix in on the plan….remember, patience.  Started with an hour of spinscan, did some stretching and light (optional) strength work, got on for another 1:40 race course, off for some more stretching and light (optional) strength work and back on for the last 50 min of controlled-power work.  

It was a tiring workout, but the knee did OK…..better than I expected really……a little backtalk about 1 hour in, but the stretching took care of.  I also continue to experience some L foot numbness after a while in the saddle…….which I’m starting to relate to my piriformis (some other time non-anatomists)…..again, stretching helped A LOT.

I’m pretty tired now, but I’ll take fatigue over overuse every time.  It’s really hard, but there’s wisdom in knowing the difference b/t pain and injury (and when you’re somewhere b/t the two).  Ultimately, I think it was the right choice.


Week of 1/3 in Review:

Training: Assuming my swim goes as planned tomorrow, I’ll only have gotten in about 80% of my volume this week…..but the workouts I had were solid.  Need to continue to manage my rest/recovery to give my body enough time to adapt to the workout volumes.

Nutrition: The regular day to day was pretty good this week.  I need to focus more (really just plan it out) for the longer workouts, I’m definitely finishing up drained and a bit dehydrated…….I just need to think it through and come up with a system that works.

Mindset: I absolutely HATE when I feel like I’m not able to work as hard as I could (or should)…..so this week was a bit of a setback in the mindset area.  BUT, I know it was the right thing so sometimes you just got to let it go.

Preview Week of 1/10:

Training: Going to take another crack at 13-14 hours of training this coming week.  The training objective is to get the volume in without any body flare-ups.

Nutrition: Need to focus on my mid AM more.  I’m pretty good about getting something in for breakfast, but I feel like I’m not doing well during the day and then I’m super-hungry at night.  Objective this week is to do a 7 day tracker to see what types of foods are going in and in what sort of caloric density.

Mindset:  Feeling really busy.  Lots to do at home, work, training, not to mention continued planning for the St. George trip.  This isn’t a new or unwelcome thing for me, it’s pretty much the constant…….but the discipline here is to be 100% locked in with whatever I’m doing whenever I’m doing it.  This is hard and takes continual practice.  Looking forward to the challenge.


And that’s the way it was … and that’s the way it is … and it’s always changing … and it is always the same. (Tom Donahue).

Mike E.