Burnout. Whether physical or mental, most of us reach it at some point during a training cycle. That morning when you just don’t want to wake up and you can’t fathom running the same stretch of land again. I’m definitely no stranger to it. It was a huge goal of mine to really enjoy every aspect of this training cycle and do my best to avoid the dreaded crash and burn. For me, that all boiled down to including one element, variety.
While training for my last marathon and my ultra, I became such a creature of habit. I woke up nearly every morning and ran the same three-mile loop from my front porch. On the weekends, I added distance. It was like Groundhog Day. Every day was the same.
Conveniently, triathlon has variety built right in. Training in three different sports definitely spices it up. I love that no day was the same and I had options. If I didn’t feel like running on a morning I had a run scheduled, I’d bike, or swim, or sleep.
Swim: I consistently swam at 4 different pools and 3 different beaches. I also swam in pools during each vacation we took. Every pool was different, some indoors some outdoors. Each beach had a different current. I feel that it made me more resilient to the ever-changing open water.
Bike: I added spin class to part of my training for the first few months. I hadn’t done a spin class in close to a year before starting this training program. I had no idea just how much it would help me build my base. I also got more familiar with my bike trainer. Really what could be better than watching 3 hours of Law & Order SVU while cycling?
Run: This was the area that needed the most variety for me. I became too familiar with my route that I ran nearly every single day. I was really needing a change.
Over the last few months, I tried new roads and trails. I grew to love trail running and how it adds such a different element to a run. I ran in the mountains and on the beach and tried to squeeze a run in everytime I was out-of-town.
I got out of the rut of knowing every single mile marker and relied on my Garmin to create my route. I’ve really loved the change of scenery.
Group Training: I started training with a few different groups. I’m not what I would consider to be a fast runner and I always thought to run with a group you HAD to be fast. It was quite the opposite. I made some incredible friends through my run group and never felt out of place for a moment.
Once I’d worked up my confidence with swimming I also started going Mad Dogs and Team Psych‘s open water swims. I even ended up joining Team Psych this year! I’ve really enjoyed the social aspect of training with a group.
Racing: I packed my training plan with 5 triathlons during this training cycle. Several shorter sprints (here, here and here) in the beginning and an olympic distance a few weeks out. Racing shorter distances always helps me shake out my nerves and practice transitions. It also helped me gauge what my race pace could and should be.
I really enjoyed this training cycle. I’ve learned how critical it is to push limits, face fears, and incorporate variety into my training.
I’m now just 4 days away from my very first Ironman 70.3 and I can honestly say I never once felt the burnout.