After this last Sunday’s Ironman fiasco I got many reassuring messages from friends and this helped me deal with my utter failure and embarrassment… thanks everyone for kind words! It really means a lot! Apart from messages reassuring me that “this stuff happens to everyone”, I also got some constructive feedback. One of my buddies from my triathlon group who knows me pretty well and has been following my training sessions, wrote to me that probably this was for the best, because he feels I wasn’t prepared enough. He believed I was “undertrained”.
When I received his comment I was first taken aback. I really appreciated his frankness (that’s what friends are for!) but I wasn’t sure he was right… So right after writing the blog post as a part of my dealing process I went for a 10km run and was thinking about all this… and came to the conclusion that he was right. Yes, I am in a good shape. I’m really feeling great… but…
I don’t think I’m in an “Ironman” shape
That’s correct. I’m not. I realized it even more yestreday when I took a 50km bike ride before returning my rented bike to the shop. I really was enjoying this ride. I was pretty fast… but not “Ironman” fast.
To really be in an “Ironman” shape one needs lots of training!
What I like about my triathlon training is that it’s very casual. I swim in a pool once or twice a week. I run on a beautiful beach nearby. I ride the bike in the mountains around my town. I sometimes run 10km, sometimes 5 or 15… depending on how I feel. I ride for 1 hour, sometimes 2… or sometimes I go with my buddies on a longer 3-4 hour bike ride. And in between I play tennis. I try to do one sport a day. Usually only on weekdays because I want to leave weekends for family time. There’s no real structure here, no “training plan”, I’m just in a good shape and I’m enjoying it!
This is not an “Ironman” attitude.
For an Ironman I’d need a training plan. I’d need to do 2 sports in one day very often. I’d probably need a personal trainer. I’d need to take it more seriously than I did it this time. So now the question is:
Do I really want to be an “Ironman”?
If it takes so much more dedication to become one, I honestly don’t want it! I like my casual training sessions and doing a sport I feel like doing every day. If I feel like running, I run, if I want to cycle, I do just that… and the same goes with swimming! And I like my shorter Olympic-distance triathlons which last below 3 hours for me and while still challenging, they’re so much more fun! Also “drafting” is allowed which makes it more of a group sport at times!
That’s why I just signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run) at the end of September with one of my friends and I’m going to enjoy it a lot!
With this race I’m going to celebrate being in shape and not beat myself up about being “undertrained”!
My friend was right - I was undertrained - and that’s OK!
He was right - I just shouldn’t have signed up for the Ironman in the first place! I wanted to be an Ironman too bad but I wasn’t ready to dedicate enough effort to really do it. And now I know it really is not what I want. I just want to stay in shape and enjoy doing the sports I like.
Now that’s what I want.