“Beware the Ides of March!” Thus began my email to John proclaiming my desire to resume official triathlon training upon my return to the Mainland on March 15. That date gives me exactly seven weeks of structured training before the first race of my season, Rev3 Knoxville (March 15 is also the last day to register for the race before the price increase!). My last race was IMFL on November 3. Since then I’ve enjoying the offseason: shoving whatever I want into my pie hole, drinking booze like a fish, and spending weekends doing “regular” people activities. I’ve stayed relatively active, hitting up the gym for a short (5 mi or less) treadmill run, the pool for quick swim (under 2k), the trainer once a week for Trainer Tuesdays, the track once a week for speed work, and the occasional run that breaks double digits. But my diet, attitude, and training has been far from that of an athlete.
Thankfully, the gorgeous weather here in Hawaii has afforded me the opportunity to jumpstart my training. Since I’m still in the “unstructured” phase, I decided to shock my system last week. Thursday was a 2 hour (my second time ever!) mountain bike ride, Friday was an 8 hour hike to the highest peak of Oahu and across the Island, and Saturday was road biking up Tantalus. By Sunday morning my quads were trashed and I was doing my Frankenstein walk. I *should* have taken a rest day, but I promised Bob I’d meet him at the HURT trails for a modified loop. Seeing as how I couldn’t even descend stairs properly, I was doubtful I could endure a 6 hour trail run. Surprisingly, though, about an hour in suddenly everything eased up and I felt completely new again. By the time I finished our loop I felt way better than when I started. Yesterday I went on another 2 hour mountain bike ride and felt stronger than ever. I think I’m beginning to awaken the athlete from hibernation.
This “shocking the system” approach to training may not be the smartest, but it always seems to work for me. For several years now right before I start training I usually do some string of super strenuous activities that thrash my body. I feel incredible fitness gains from just a few days of hard “non training” and think this really helps prep your body right before structured training begins.
What do you think about this? Do you think approach is smart or stupid? Have you done anything like this to shock your system prior to training or right before a big push in training?