Mistakes will be made during training, accept it, it will happen. Just as recovery from a hard workout is as essential as the workout itself, recovery from a training mistake can quickly diffuse the problem or enhance the error. Errors can be made in intensity; certainly, volume; of course, diet; yum milkshake.
Early this week I was feeling extremely sluggish. I was enjoying a nice lactic acid burn while walking up the stairs, along with achy legs while sleeping, and the possibility of a leg cramp never seemed to far off.
Something was amiss, my previous week of training was good, but nothing extraordinarily hard, and no big jump in volume. After an easy Sunday and Monday, I should have been ready to get the bit between the teeth, and get after it like kids to an ice cream truck. Instead small rollers on the bike were met with disdain and discomfort, Monday's easy run with my wife had me questioning if she had been secretly training, and now was unleashing her new found speed. This should not be.
I consulted the training calendar, looking for clues, (if you keep a budget the way I keep a training log, your probably broke). Anyway, I peared at my chicken scratch on the calendar handing from the fridge, 16 hours for the week ending June 10, followed by 19 hours for the week ending June 17. Right in line with the 15-20 hours per week average I have maintained for sometime. I looked a bit closer, and there appeared the problem. The week of June 10th was back loaded with 9 hours on Saturday and Sunday, this 9 hour weekend was then followed by my 19 hour week. Now we see the problem, I had 35 hours over two weeks, with 28 of those hours occurring over the previous 9 days. Stupid, now I see why the legs were voting for 'recovery day' every time I laced the shoes or buckled the helmet.
So what to do, I am racing the Philly Insurance Olympic Triathlon this Sunday the 24th, and I'd like to do well, so getting the legs back was essential. I decided to keep the workouts easy and reduce volume, while keeping fequency consistant. Monday was an easy 40 minute run, slightly under 5 miles. Tuesday, 90 minute bike ride that was mostly spinning, 26 miles. Also Tuesday, I swam 2,000 yards in 30 minutes (swimming is non impact and I don't kick that much). Wednesday was another easy morning run of 30 minutes followed by an afternoon spin on the trainer for 45 minutes. Thursday a swim of 1500 yards in 25 minutes. Today will be another easy ride of 90 minutes to 2 hours.
I am pleased to report that this morning the legs no longer burn on the stairs nor do they feel achy or slightly sore to the touch. As much as I hate reducing volume and intensity this week, the alternative would have been to continue to dig the hole, the deeper it gets, the harder it is to crawl out of, by changing course with my head still above ground I was able to crawl back out after only 4 days. As endurance athletes its important to remember training can be as much art as science, if you listen to your body and adjust expectations, according to the feedback you are receiving, issues such as over-training, illness, and injury can be minimized. I threw the plan out the window this week, keeping the big picture in focus, I think that decision will prove wise this Sunday in Philly, and again on August 22nd in Lake Placid.