To complete a full Iron Man is still an important milestone for me. I really dig endurance challenges. However, I reluctantly decided to reduce the number of hours of training per week and let the ultimate deadline slip a year or two into the future. I don’t want to spend 15 hours per week of training on it yet. There are ongoing projects that I am not willing to sacrifice. In a way I’m adapting to the opportunities that currently present themselves instead of forcefully pushing a preconceived plan against the reality.
I’m going to run a few marathons first. In the fall 2015 I ran my first half-marathon. I crossed the finish line but broke a leg in the process. The recovery was relatively slow and painful. For the first 6 months I have not run at all so I transitioned into cycling and swimming. Eventually, I started doing short but regular runs (about 2km) and then interval runs (running combined with walking). My next goal is to finish a half-marathon without breaking any parts of my body!
For the past 4 weeks I have followed a simple half-marathon training plan. It’s the same plan I used in 2015. I figured to try it out for 4 weeks and see if any pain resurfaces. Fortunately, I’m feeling great and excited. I chose Madrid as the running location. First, I’ve only visited its airport and I would probably never go there otherwise. Second, the climate is dry so the chance the weather will be foul is reduced, unlike say, in Vienna. The training program is simple. It’s 14 weeks long. There is one long and three shorter runs per week. The distances grow incrementally each week. I have adapted it by dropping one run and made the whole program longer by 1 week.
While the training program is almost the same I changed my running shoes. I had shoes with almost no support — one of those Nike Free. I think that may have been a contributing factor to the injury although everybody has their own opinion about the issue. I have been a strong supporter of barefoot running and minimal shoes. But I prefer to keep my bones intact. A running shoe with support should reduce the load on the bones. Perhaps it’s a good idea to occasionally cycle through different shoes. In anycase I’m set on running the half-marathon in the new shoes.
In addition, I intend to introduce 2 cycling workouts per week. I feel I’m not getting all the exercise I need. Cycling is convenient choice for me because I already have a tailored setup at home and there’s almost no overhead — just hop on and spin. Occasionally, I’ll do rides outside. Nothing beats climbing a pass or riding around a lake. Swimming will have to wait as it has become unaffordable lately. I’m proud of myself as I’ve grown my crawl technique immensely — from complete incompetence to a poor mediocrity. Unfortunately, there are no group courses in the vicinity and the private lessons feel too expensive for what they offer right now. Plus, doing all three disciplines gets me in the “15 hours per week training” territory.
I also considered supplementing my program with strength workouts at a gym. The problem with the gym is the other people. Since I only do free weights with a barbell I need the rack (for safety and convenience). Most gyms have just one proper rack. It’s impossible to know if that single rack will be occupied. Even if I come in the middle of day. It takes only one other rack user to ruin the whole experience! It makes for a very stressful experience — never knowing if the rack is occupied. Plus, I feel awkward and guilty when I occupy it for a whole hour. In short, the gym is a mostly broken idea for people like me who need a rack. I’m going to start my own business in the field with a network of gyms that let clients reserve individual pieces of equipment so that when a client gets to the gym he can be sure to have the rack to him. I will also have more than one rack in the gym. But I digress and I probably shouldn’t spill my strategic plans.
Resuming purposeful training reminded me of mental benefits. I have flip flopped around usefulness of the idea of goals in life a couple of times. Since my first half-marathon I am deeply convinced that having goals is the right attitude. Sports and training are excellent tools for growing one’s capacity to achieve goals. One may think he’s just running or training but he’s also doing the sets and reps for getting ahead in life.
Finally, I’ve been thinking about my training and attitude lately. Some of my friends have a very nonchalant attitude to sports and hobbies. They can get away feeling that it should be casual and “fun”. I can’t do anything like that. When I do something irregularly and for “fun” I’ll abandon it very quickly. I’ll simply be too bad at it to continue. Hence, I take training somewhat seriously. I would not call my training “fun” but it’s pleasing and rewarding in a profound manner. I also wouldn’t call it a hobby. A hobby is something one does when he has too much time on his hands. Training for me is more like sleep or food. I can’t live neither productively nor peacefully when I don’t regularly put my body through physical strain and pain. Training makes me feel great. So it’s not a hobby. It’s part of life.