Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mental Discipline Breakdown

It's been said that mental discipline/toughness is the 4th discipline of triathlon.  Really, I think eating and sleeping are there somewhere, but yeah let's be honest - there are many more disciplines to our sport than just swimming, biking, and running.

Today I had 1800 meters in the pool and a 6 mile run scheduled.  Should be no problem, right?

Didn't go as planned.

The swim was fine. In fact, I'd say that it was a great swim.  It was a speed session, and more or less it demonstrated to me that the work I'm putting in is paying off.  So that wasn't the issue.

No, the issue was the 6 mile run.

T had scheduled a 40 minute easy run.  So what we agreed we'd do is do the 10 minute warm-up together, then I'd take off along the trail, do my run, and meet her at home.

It really never had a chance.  The weather is cloudy, and a lot colder than forecasted today. My Garmin was not cooperating (heart rate was in Z3 when it should have been in Z1 and vice versa, the pace was way off as well) and my brain began to go places that I don't want it to go when I'm running.  About 16 minutes into it, I stopped the Garmin, let T catch up, and we cut mine short to hers (she was having her own separate issues).

So why did I break down mentally?

I think it started off this morning.  I got to the gym nice and early.  6:26 am start.  I had the pool to myself.  I was in my happy place.  By the time I was 1000 meters in, the pool was nearly full.  Some older lady decided that she was just going to jump into my lane and use 9/10ths of it.  I wasn't in the mood for that, so I had some choice words for her.  Bottom line - do not assume you can just share a lane with someone.

At the homefront, my garbage disposal decided to start leaking, meaning I have to replace it.  I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most handy guy around, so tomorrow will be quite interesting with replacing that.  

I'm also dealing with going back to flying the line.  My schedule went from smooooooooth to rackum frackum I have a lot of work to do for the rest of February!  Lots of flying, pretty much every day the rest of the month.  Greaaaaaaaaaat.  NOT!

February also tends to be a bad month for me, just in my mental state.  Garfield the Cat described February as "the Monday of months" and he's right.  Winter blues begin to set in. The freshness of the new year wears off.  The Christmas bills become due.  Both my parents and one of my in-laws celebrate birthdays, which means more presents to dole out. Taxes are due.  February all around is just a dumpy month.

So I guess now that you've read my rambling about my mental breakdown for the workout today, you're probably wondering what I'm doing to combat it?

1.  Celebrate the small gains.  This is the first time all year that I've deliberately cut a workout short due to mental fatigue.  I cut a swim short due to a vomit feeling, but that was a physical ailment I blame on Chipotle.  Stupid spicy.

2.  Be patient with myself.  While I didn't stick to the scheduled run workout today, I still got some miles in, and I shifted my longer run to tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Also, I need to remember that for the last two years, I have made excuse after excuse to not make the necessary gains in the sport.  It'll take time to shed all the bad habits.

3.  Remind myself that we're still early in the year.  If there is a time that it's "acceptable" to have a mental breakdown, this is the better time to have it.

4.  Use my resources.  T is a valuable resource to have, as she's gone through most of the same trials I have.  Coach will be a good resource to lean on as well.  I'm not in this fight alone.


  1. February is pretty sucky here in northern Florida too!! I just finished a 4 mile run with over 20 mph headwinds and 30 degrees this morning.

  2. we all have our burdens to bear!