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September 16, 2008

Real World Fatigue

I am going through a tough phase in my training and its something I prepared for, but as always, what we are prepared for rarely matches the real world situation. Its the cats and gnomes theory (another whole article to be published soon I promise) all over what you expect and you end up with that real “Wing It” sense of reality.

This is me if you leave me alone for a few minutes at the moment:

Glad we cleared that up.

I am 4 weeks away from getting through a real tough winter in terms of training, work, people management, financial implications of travel requirements, search for knowledge and I have had so much food for thought over the last 12 weeks its amazing I`m not a fat slob. I must have an appetite for this stuff, or a metabolism for life like a 4 year old`s. Whilst I have purposefully trained myself into a state of fatigue to build myself up over the last 3 weeks, I really didnt want or need all to happen thats happened over winter.

Firstly, the weather. The Glorious Cape has given what locals are terming “the first real winter in 8 years”. Not awesome if you`re trying to log 18 hour training weeks without getting sick, injured or demotivated. Those who know me know – put me in the sun and I am happy. Clouds and rain – they tend to make me more effort to deal with. Not awesome.

I know that real world stress is the no 1 killer of athletic performance. As the world is going through a seeming monetary and economic (read: less money, more expensive food) crisis the stress levels in people are incredible latelyl. I see it in my work space, in my friends, in the way people handle small things that would have, just a year ago, totally gone over their heads. As these things affect me too, I would say that yes, my body hasnt recovered as well as I would have wanted it to this winter. I have had a few niggles here and there and I know I haven`t been the most jovial guy to be around at times as I have been tired………. ALOT.

So, instead of moaning about it, here is the pro active way I am going about cleaning my body is this deep fatigue in the next 4 weeks:

1. More regular sleep. Goal is 8 hours a night.
2. Massage – once this week, twice next week, 3 times the week after.
3. Nutrition – eat better lunches. Lately I have been skimping on good food for lunch. The temptation of sugar and white carbs has been killing me. Damn this weather!
4. Stop b*itching about the weather. Its cold for everyone.
5. Chiropractor once before I head off.
6. Start assembling toys for the race. Visualise how I am going to use them on the day in a powerful way, without expending energy. Imagine myself having an incredible day out there in the heat and the wind, over and over again…

This will hopefully lower my stress levels and free my body a little to relax, unwind and recoup the energy I need to get through the big day. I try and remember what I felt like 4 weeks before my last Ironman, but I cant remember. I remember being tired, but I cant remember EXACTLY how tired. Maybe thats a good thing. I just remember starting to feel really good in my taper after being fast, but feeling crap, for the preceding 4 weeks. Thats exactly where I have been. In the last 4 weeks I have put together some amazing training sessions, but I felt fat, tired, unfit, lazy, unmotivated and even a little scared. These feelings have been periodic and have come without much grounding. Between them I have felt amazing at times, really fast, even on sore legs. All 3 my last long rides, I have left the door and got 1 block away from home and said to myself “today is going to be interesting on these jelly legs” and had great rides all 3 times, not being in trouble once even when the pace was erratic and even when I spent sustained periods of time on the front keeping the speed above the point where the lads were talking behind me.

All my toys arrive this week and I will be doing a run-down through the performance stuff which helps me get to the race in 1 piece, as well as the equipment I choose for raceday. Most important in that is the nutrition…

Have a great week. I`m going to make sure I clear this real world fatigue from my tired self.

Raoul

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