by Alex Thompson
With the exception of rest weeks, I clock over 1000TSS per week for almost the whole year! That’s tough training. Since my training isn’t time constrained, I can afford to make recovery a priority.
Apart from the odd car crash, brawl or heart attack, I’ve stayed injury free for over four years. Recovery is more than just getting your legs fresh -- it’s about keeping mentally fresh.
For example, a recent “recovery” week was spent getting tattooed; sparing with pro MMA fighters; watching all sorts of bands; hanging out in record shops; reading non-triathlon material; checking out new coffee shops; staying out until 4 a.m.; going round my friends house for tea, biscuits and pizza; and when I was alone in the house: singing along to very loud northern soul.
I can hear it already... “Tut tut, I bet your coach won’t be happy when he reads that.”
While not triathlon-related, these things bring great joy to me. Taking a mental break from being “Mr. Ironman” and just chilling makes me not only want to hit the next block, but it makes me work extra hard during the block as I know in three weeks time I get to do the recovery thing over again. When my recovery weeks involve not doing much, it’s almost like they don’t happen and before I know it I’m back to training. If I can’t remember stuff I did on a rest week it’s almost like the rest week didn’t happen, which after a few blocks can get to you.
If you don’t know what to do with yourself on a rest week, it could be a sign that your life is out of balance. Hang out with your partner, your kids, your friends -- it’s important. Listening to good music and doing things which are outside of the ideal ironman early to bed early to rise philosophy is what’s needed. Relax and have fun. When it comes to laying down the big weeks when it matters, you’ll be able to do it.
Alex has been a triathlete since 2005 and has competed several ironman and ultra distances races. He is currently working towards making the transition from age group athlete into the pro ranks. He has been working closely with Alan Couzens for the last two years to achieve his goal. You can follow Alex's progress through his blog, TriOnTrack.