A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mental Recovery Needed Soon

Yesterday I wrote about that "Window Of Opportunity" that exists for each athlete during the racing season. Once that window closes, athletes need to take steps to scale back everything about their training to allow their bodies to recover from all the hard training it had to deal with in the previous 6-8 months.

I'm getting those subtle reminders that that goes for the mind too.
 I've only got about 9 days until my biggest and most gruelling race of my racing season, the Vermont 100 Mile Ultra. And in the back of my mind, the weariness of the hard work of the last 7 or so months is starting to make itself known.

I still have only 3 more days before I taper for this race in earnest. My body is actually doing great, but my mind cannot wait until I see that down time, both before and after that race. My Window of Opportunity is closing at this point.

I don't think it'll affect the race, my mental focus for that race is as acute as ever. The mental focus for the daily training, however, has been blunted a bit.

But I have only 3 days left. That's the good part. I timed my training very well this year to have done as well as I did.

But you have to understand the mental weariness. Remember that I worked hard this spring, especially when losing 20+ pounds in the early going. To get from 205 to 182 pounds can be quite mentally taxing while getting in shape for the season.

In the past, I used to neglect the larger downtime that the body and mind sorely needs after a period of hard training. After my last race of the season I used to just right into next year's training.

After 5 years without a rest, I mentally burned out. Big time!

The result was about 5 years without doing a triathlon.

It wasn't fun any more. The endless laps in the pool, the constant hard mileage on the bike and the run...my mind finally said "no mas."

What I know now, in my increased wisdom, is that during the year, the mind and body need some serious downtime from the constant rigours of training. I definitely build that into every single athlete's training plan.

Active rest. Just what the doctor ordered.

So, after this 100 mile trek that I have on July 21, that downtime begins. Yes, I have the Survival of the Shawangunks Triathlon in September, but I should still be very good shape to complete that race in a good time without all that training.

Plus, if I get a month in of active rest early, I might get that ability to refocus on a fall marathon this November. Maybe...

But I'm not pressuring myself. But we'll see. :-)

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