The Battle of Fatigue

As an endurance athlete you can expect to deal with some level of fatigue throughout your career. The level of fatigue can bring your dreams crashing down or simply sideline you for a few days. Hopefully it's the later. I'm currently dealing with an episode of fatigue. Yes, once again in my triathlon career I'm dealing with fatigue. Fatigue, a result of over training, prematurely ended my season last year. That event has embarrassingly traumatized me. I have now become hyper sensitive to my body and the feelings associated with fatigue. After last year's episode with fatigue I vowed NEVER to go to that place again yet, here I am. So what went wrong?

In order to ensure that I never went into the fatigue zone I hired a coach, Matt Wontz, head coach of Organic Endurance. He has laid down a training plan that would ensure that the correct steps were taken to improve my fitness and help me achieve my goals in a healthy and efficient manner. I have kept a pretty religious log of all my training on a program called Training Peaks. This is an excellent piece of software that provides a tremendous amount of feedback. I specifically like the Training Peaks' application, Performance Management Chart. This application is a graph that clearly depicts your Acute and Chronic Training Loads as well as your Training Stress Balance. The significance of this chart is to monitor ones fitness levels. The graph can accurately predict/reveal when you will be peaking for a race or just the opposite. So, what did the graph say about my fitness levels? I can't say that it predicted this spell of fatigue. So, what is the point of this software then?

No software can predict when fatigue will hit, its intensity, duration or required recovery.

Here are the reasons why I believe I have had to endure this episode of fatigue:

1. The Harryman 70.3 race on May 19th kicked my a$$. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it, I had my a$$ handed to me on a silver platter. A very challenging course, my body not cooperating from the start coupled with 80 degree temps with 60 percent humidity only added to the challenges of the day. I had planned to race no longer than 6 hours, in reality I raced closer to 8.

2. Two days after the race I was experiencing the normal soreness associated with 70.3 racing however I felt no unusual fatigue and even got into the pool for a recovery swim. Day three after the race however I was swallowed by an energy sucking cold.

3. One week post race I had envisioned myself already getting back into training and beginning the build phase for Vineman 70.3 (my first A race of the season) Instead, I'm at a bar with friends just having a relaxing night and I have my first migraine in months, probably since last summer. For anyone that has experienced migraines than you can empathize with my pain. If you haven't, hope that you never have to deal with that pain, EVER. The migraine wiped me out all of Sunday.

4. Now it's nearly two weeks post Harryman and my cold has finally vacated my body. However, for the past couple of days I have certainly been dealing with a good level of fatigue. I was really hoping that once my cold left that I would be ready to rock instead, not so much. So now I have to deal with fatigue, ARRRGGGGHHHH. Its almost as if the cold and migraine postponed my recovery and now I have to deal with it a week later.

A cold I can deal with. A migraine, I have no choice. Fatigue however, I cannot deal with/handle. All I can do is patiently (key word) wait for my body to recover and bounce back. One minute I'm thinking I just wasted another season then the next I'm envisioning making a strong, smart recovery and continuing to reach my goals for this season. I would write down other conversations that are going on in my head but you all might think I'm certifiably crazy.

How have I been dealing with the animal known as fatigue? I have been doing my best to put more calories into my body. These calories aren't from junk food rather I have focused on putting in the healthiest food choices possible. I have increased the amount of liquids I have been taking in as well as trying to get in solid night sleeps. In my opinion sleep is the cheapest and best form of recovery. I have also pulled the reigns in very tight in terms of training. I have done a couple of spins on the bike and went for a short run this evening.

I cant say that I will be racing this weekend (smart move would not to) but I can say that the level of fatigue I have been experiencing is slowly diminishing. As the fatigue leaves my body so to does the negative thoughts Ive been having. In my right mind I know that this will pass and I will return to training however I'm extremely impatient and want to be hammering out large volume, high intensity weeks NOW!!!!!!


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