It’s December. The holidays are upon us. Hanukkah started over the weekend. Christmas is in two short weeks. Hopefully your life is beginning to slow down as we approach the end of the year (or the end of the world, if you believe the Mayans).
This time of year exhausts me. The last two months at work have been hectic – which can be fun sometimes, but also can be overwhelming. I’ve traveled some, hosted team meetings for my out-of-town staff, and literally worked 12 hour days more times than I can count. To compound that, life with three kids who are all active adds to the mayhem. Basketball games to go to so I can watch my high-school cheerleader. Weekend-long swim meets. Soccer practice. Decorating the house. Nevermind that I hardly have started shopping.
What have I not been doing much of? Training.
It’s probably a good thing that this hectic time of year coincides with the normal “offseason” for triathletes. Frankly, I can’t imagine doing everything that I’ve got going on plus a heavy training block.
Far too many of us endurance athletes thrive on spending time following the black line in the pool, the white-painted line on the side of the road, or the trail stretched out in front of us. In some cases, our workouts define us. We tweet them. We post them to DailyMile. We update Strava or Training Peaks. It’s as if our world would end if we didn’t log a workout.
Are we incomplete because we didn’t get in that fartlek?
Well, maybe. But maybe not.
I think that having an offseason is a great thing. Breaking away from the norms of our spring, summer and fall training schedule is good for us physically. Our bodies need to rest. Furthermore, I’d contend that taking a break is good for us mentally as well. Especially when life is chaotic and crazy (like it is during the holidays).
So, my Christmas present to myself isn’t necessarily a set of wheels or a new wetsuit. It’s that I’ve taken a break. A break from the routine of a structured training plan. I’ve run some, but those runs have been just to get out and about. Just for fun. I’ve started a new ab routine (which, by the way, is KILLING me), but if I don’t do it one day and instead do it the next, it doesn’t really bother me. I enjoyed a nice ride on my bike this weekend (in my tri kit – and not wearing arm warmers, toe warmers, tights and a jacket). It was great to just pedal.
And you know what? It’s NOT the end of the world as I know it. And I feel fine!
PS: Today, I entered a contest to win a Garmin 910XT over on Ryan Falkenrath’s blog. You may want to head over and check out his blog and toss your name in the hat. Entry is pretty easy – and if you win, you’ll get a totally awesome device. But you won’t. Win that is. Because I will.