Beware of Tucan Sam

Two months out from race day. Training is ramping up exponentially by the week and I can see the light at the end of this crazy tunnel. I must be excited, right? I mean, I even posted a pump-you-up Ironman AZ video on Facebook yesterday. Facebook doesn’t lie.

Then what, you may ask, has led me to ditch training on this Wednesday night, disregard any and all weekday, paleo-centric rules I have and dive into this bowl of Froot Loops?

Froot Loops

This fruity-licious, artificial ingredient-filled dinner is a result of a week of training gone awry and the unhealthy relationship I have with my training plan.

I discussed the importance of having a plan in a post I wrote early on in this endeavor. It wasn’t until I was sitting on the couch with Tucan Sam tonight that I realized how much a training plan and an overachieving personality can actually hurt your efforts.

With a few exceptions along the way, I have stuck to my training plan pretty religiously. My goal this entire time has been to get to the starting line of IMAZ knowing that I’ve done everything I can to prepare. Plus, I’m paying someone to write my programming. And I’m cheap. So of course I’m not going to waste my money there.

While being strict with training has helped me build confidence, endurance and strength, it has also wound me up so tightly that the second something gets off scheduled, I snap. Typically into a world of laziness filled with sugar and carbs (I refer you back to exhibit A: tonight’s dinner).

As an example of how a great week can quickly go wrong with an all-or-nothing mindset, I would like to recap this past week (note: my training week runs Thurs – Weds).

Wednesday/Thursday: I ended the past training week on a huge high by running a half marathon before work last Wednesday morning. The run felt great; I enjoyed every second of it. Thursday came along and I hit the ground again in the morning for an eight mile run through the rain, followed by my longest swim to date that evening after work. Again, everything was feeling awesome. This is what progress looks like.


Friday: Due to the flooding here in Colorado, riding my bike outside on Friday evening after work was out of the question. So, after procrastinating the night away, I hopped on my indoor trainer and forced myself through the scheduled 40 miles, finishing up around 10 p.m., a mere two hours past my typical Friday bedtime. But at least I stuck to my plan, right?

Saturday: The rain was still coming down when my alarm clock went off on Saturday morning, so I hopped back on my indoor trainer to push through 65 miles, followed up with an eight mile run. I was proud of myself for pushing through and not using the rain as an excuse to miss training.

Sunday: This is where things took a turn. I woke up feeling “off,” likely due to a combination of running in the rain and lack of sleep. I kept telling myself all day that I would get my 50 mile ride in at some point, but after multiple naps on the couch and an afternoon of pure laziness, I realized and accepted around 6 p.m. that I wasn’t getting my ride in for that day. Any normal person would chalk that up to a well-deserved day off after a good week of training. Unfortunately, that’s when the cloud started to form over my all-or-nothing personality’s head.


Monday/Tuesday: After waking up feeling even more “off” with a congested head, I decided that I would take these two days off. As silly as it may sound, a decision like this is a huge blow to my momentum, enthusiasm and confidence. I have spent the last year training and sticking to my plan religiously. More recent months have been filled up with two-a-day workouts. So, to miss three days feels like an eternity.

Froot Loops Box

Wednesday: I felt better and the time off actually proved to be good for me. Having kicked away those cold-like symptoms and feeling rested and refreshed, I should have gotten back to training today. Instead, I came home from work and ate a bowl of Froot Loops for dinner. My mindset now? Defeated and scared that I’ll look back on this week two months from now and pinpoint it as the week I could have done more.

This all-or-nothing mindset is something I’ve been battling for as long as I can remember, and it’s something my coach and I have pinpointed as being one of the challenges I’ll have to recognize and overcome on this journey. I enjoy challenging myself, and I enjoy putting 100 percent into everything I do. While I personally think that these are two great traits to have, I also know that it’s important to be able to pair them with understanding and a little leniency for myself. I easily lose sight of this last piece, especially when I’m thrown off of my routine.

So, as an addendum to my post about making a plan, I’d like to add that in a year’s worth of training, it’s okay to miss a workout, or to take three days off. Actually, it’s really important. Regardless of what your plan says for today, tomorrow or the next day, be realistic and listen to your body because that’s what’s going to be carrying you through to the finish line of whatever your goal is. Be understanding with yourself and don’t let a few days of R&R launch you into Tucan Sam’s scary world.

-Live Ever Day-