Ok. 7.5 weeks to go! I’m feeling good, and now comes time to start getting mentally fit for the race. At this point, I’ve built a solid training base, and if I had to, I could finish the race if it were held today. Despite this, that self-doubt starts to come up more and more – which is probably more of a function of shortened time, rather than actual lack of preparation.
I began training in earnest for this Ironman about 18 weeks ago. Back then, it felt like I had all the time in the world to train. There was no sense of urgency then.
But now, the race is coming up rapidly, and mentally “7 weeks to go” doesn’t sound like very much time. And it isn’t, but it’s also nearly 2 more months of LOTS of training, which will be some of the hardest and longest I’ll do on this journey. The amount of fitness to be gained at this point is huge, and this is when one truly becomes race fit for this distance.
A big part for me in helping with mental preparedness is completing the longer workouts. Doing the long swims, the long rides, and the long runs to make sure my body is capable - to ‘prove it’ to myself. And then, doing back-to-back longer workouts in 2 of the three disciplines...these serve to get you fit, and to get your mind ready for the challenge ahead.
To help fortify myself mentally, I’ll continually ask myself during each swim...”could I go and ride 112 miles right after this”? Likewise during each ride, I’ll mentally check in to see if I feel like I could run a marathon immediately after the ride. And when I run, I’ll see how I feel about running 26 miles, nothing less.
Of course the success with these mental exercises revolves around how I’m feeling physically – if energy is high and my body feels strong, I’ll get a resounding “heck yea!” to my questions. Feeling that positivity goes a long way toward building confidence, and so my mental training begins!
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Often times I am asked, “just how long can I rest while I recover from my injury/illness, before I start to lose my fitness level”? All of us are hesitant to give up the gains we have made from all of that training. Although this is not a straight forward question, there is plenty of enlightening research on this subject.
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