There's Always an Excuse—But Is That Bad?
I’ve been getting a free pass at races lately, especially when things don’t go so well. But then again, so is everyone else.
It seems like every time I talk to someone and mention what I’ve been doing—lots of travel, lots of work, the same thing I’ve been doing for the past few years (albeit with a few new things added!)—the first thing people say is that it’s amazing that I find time to train at all. But then again, I could say the exact same thing to the person who works in an office from 9 to 5 every day (done it), or the stay-at-home parent (tried the full time nannying thing, which isn’t the same but kind of close), or the student (definitely done that).
And you know what? In all of them, there’s the built-in excuse to not train. And it’s a totally, totally valid one.
It’s a wonder we get anything done, really. I don’t understand how people working 9 to 5 get to the bank, or dentist, or doctor; and people with normal schedules don’t get how I work on weekends, or at 6 am, or whenever a story needs to get written. We all make trade-offs in order to lead the life that we want, right?
The mistake, I think, is that sometimes, I believe my own hype. I can be an expert at rationalizing why I can’t train on any given day. Maybe it’s that there’s a lot of housework because we’re finally home, or we haven’t grocery shopped, or I have a mountain of work. Or, just maybe, it’s that I’m simply not in the mood to train and I’m looking for any reason to avoid it.
The simple truth is, I’m not awesome with training regimen. Ask anyone who’s coached me in recent years. I train, but I definitely don’t follow a plan, and my racing suffers for it. My saving grace is that I did train for a while, and so some technique doesn’t go away, thankfully. And because I do the occasional hard week with long rides and runs, I stay in reasonable shape.
But when I started talking with Peter about this, he pointed out a distinction in the way I work out in the past year. I’m not “training” so much as “exercising.” To say that I got annoyed with that statement is an understatement. After all, I race in the elite field! I podium in triathlons! I win 5ks! I did a three hour run the other day!
And then he pointed out that while those things are all true, they’re also all pretty disjointed. Training? Maybe. But not on any kind of reasonable training plan. And maybe, for me, that’s OK for now.