Stop, re-calibrate and listen

Wednesday last week we all sat around the breakfast table feeling very sorry for ourselves. None of us wanted to be out of bed, none of us wanted to be heading out into the dark and cold to work/school/childcare. I had tonsillitis, my wife had a throat infection, our youngest had an ear infection and the older 2 children coughs and colds. I think we lead a healthy life, we get lots of exercise and fresh air, we generally eat well with lots of fresh fruit and veg but this winter has been pretty darn miserable.

In these busy modern lives that we lead it can be hard to stop and rest, I work in finance and being off at month end isn’t really an option. So I ploughed through it and then crashed for 2 days afterwards as my body screamed at me to rest. But rest and listen to our bodies we must, especially if we are endurance athletes who at some point this season want to try and push our bodies. There is no point pushing on with sessions when sick, better to recover properly and quickly.

It feels like that’s all I’ve done for the past few weeks, rest and recover. I even had 10 days with zero exercise, something truly unusual for me. Now as I sit here on a Sunday evening having run for 2 days in a row it’s time to review the plan and update it with the new reality. I’d planned to increase my turbo sessions in January to build a good cycling base but that didn’t happen, I’d also planned some speed sessions for running to try and get these legs out of their long and slow mode. I even planned a long overdue return to the pool where I managed a whole 1 session.

barbury castle

Getting back running after illness isn’t so bad when the view looks like this!

Not the start to the year I planned, but it’s happened and there is no short cut to get my fitness to where I planned it to be now. All you can do is accept the reality and move on. Still 4 months until my A race so plenty of time even if the ultimate race goal may need to be moved slightly. (not least in the swim, that first session was HARD!).

I have made some good use of my non training time though, I’ve been helping a couple of friends with their training plans as I work towards my coaching assessment in March. Really enjoyable starting to put some of the lessons from the course into practise with friendly guinea pigs and fine tune my approach to both writing plans and analysing the athletes I work with. I’ve loved building some structure and process to my coaching to set me up for when I can start taking on athletes ‘officially’ as a coach. Small steps towards a grand plan.

Anyone else had a rough start to the year? How do you re-assess your goals after a period of sickness?

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