My last race went better than expected, which is a good thing.
Good, as long as I manage post race recovery well.
My run at the Staplehurst 10K gave my confidence a boost. It showed me that the preceding block of training had worked. My fitness and speed were returning and had me riding high. I could not wait to get back to training to test my legs again, as well as prove to myself it was not a fluke.
The training session a few days later was right up my street. A track pyramid combining speed and endurance. I thrive on this, setting a pace and maintaining it whilst ignoring the discomfort. I am pleased to report my legs responded and did the business. Another tick in the box for confidence.
You might think recovery would be next on my training plan. It should have been, but I was entering that unhelpful mindset of ‘train harder and train longer to get results‘! Two days later I was off to Mole Valley Park Run. ‘Just to do it as a tempo run‘ I told myself. Instead the voice in my head shouted ‘test the legs, run hard up the hills, chase the person in front‘.
So yes, I ran well bagging a personal best for the course. However, I was not inhabiting a comfortable place. My newly found confidence now had self-doubt for company. The destructive cycle had kicked in:
- Happy about fitness gains made.
- Scared of losing those improvements.
- Not trusting in the training.
- Increasing the intensity and quantity of sessions.
- Unnecessarily testing my legs.
- Fatigue can creep up quietly.
- Resulting in a levelling out or even drop in fitness.
Luckily for me the summer heat wave arrived. Phew it was, and still is, scorching in England. I had no choice but to slow down and rest. Trying to learn from previous mistakes I embraced my post race rest and recuperation.
For the next week I ticked over. Gentle early morning walks around Mickleham with Ted in the cool air combined with cycling to the pool for a swim. My body thanked me as the fatigue lifted. During this time I also indulged my love of camping! Well why not? It is great for relaxation.
I pitched my tent in the garden and set up camp. Oh how I had missed my camping kit. It was packed away when I moved last summer. Jon, not being a camping aficionado, watched my activity with suspicion, particularly the unveiling of the blow up mattress. He was swayed though once I had the stoves set up and promised bacon sandwiches for breakfast.
A week on, I am back to balanced training. The self-doubt banished and trust in my long-term training plan restored. Sitting here with a cold drink I pondered the last few weeks and concluded:
- Racing takes it out of me, physically and emotionally.
- I need time to recover especially at 47!
- Big emotional highs are followed by emotional dips.
- I love camping.
- Jon is not so in love with camping, but can be bribed with bacon sandwiches.
Do you ever have self-doubt? If you do, how do you manage it?