I have one of those “want it all” type personalities. The word "can't" doesn't really exist in my vocabulary, thus I don't particularly adhere to the saying “you can’t have your cake it eat it too." Ok, so what does that proverb actually mean? According to my online research, its meaning is similar to saying “you can’t have the best of both worlds.” Meaning, it’s difficult to do or get two things at the same time, especially two things that seem “incompatible.” Sort of like saying you can't eat healthy and enjoy what you're eating, but I prefer to argue otherwise.
The reason behind my thinking about this is of course related to my training. I have some lofty goals ahead of me that will require a LOT of hard work, sacrifice and discipline. But what about having fun? Does my dedication to such goals mean my training will become all work and no play? I'm sure it could, but it doesn’t have to be!
Last year I saw a fairly significant increase in volume and intensity in my training. I was prepared mentally and physically to work my butt off, and that I most certainly did. One of my concerns was not in whether I would be able to keep up – I knew I’d figure that part out – but in whether I would lose that spark of fun and excitement along the way. I’ve heard a lot of people say that Ironman training is like a second job and in many ways can agree. It does require a fair amount of time commitment, but within that time I’ve maintained a commitment to myself to have fun with it. I don’t get paid to do any of this. In fact, I pay a good amount of money (WELL SPENT) to get my butt kicked day in and day out! That being said, the one thing that pleasantly surprised me about my training last year is that I feel I was successful in achieving my goal to “work harder AND have fun” Or in the words of my coach, “kick more butt, smile more while doing it!” Yes, I wanted the best of both worlds and learned that it is in fact possible.
Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017! The past year has certainly offered it's full share of adventures, challenges, personal victories and lessons learned. Per typical I've been spending time reflecting the events of the past year in preparation for that which is to come, and thankfully the off-season has provided plenty of opportunities to do so. In many ways it's been refreshing to take this transitional period at a much slower pace, while purposefully maintaining a blank slate in regards to 2017 racing plans. Mentally, it has allowed me to focus more on the present, which equates to swimming, biking, running out of enjoyment for the sport rather than "training." Physically it has kept me from rushing the recovery and rebuilding process, which hopefully will pay dividends later down the road.
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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