Today is rest day after the first week back on coaches schedule, following an off-season break which spanned September.
This week has been hard. I’m told once a year you have to become an unfit mess to get the gains you want in the long term, but it doesn’t make the return to fitness any easier.
I got pulled down to earth with a bang during a turbo session that, on first glance left me thinking: “Coach is easing me in, this looks perfectly easy, it’s actually under an hour (it was 50mins) – mayhaps I’ll go for a little spin later too.” WRONG.
Here are the after effects: (pictures speak louder than words, and this one does so with a touch of hilarity too 😉 )
On Monday there was a drills based swim, which I thought rather nice, followed by a weights session which, at the time, felt perfectly manageable. Fast forward to Wednesday (the day after the day after) and I was genuinely walking like Pinocio when he is still cursed with his wooden legs. Genuinely, sitting and standing required a hesitant arm on the table. Worrying because the weights I was lifting were beyond pathetic.
The first session of 100m swim reps left me pleasantly surprised. I was a couple of seconds off my mid-season-peak PBs, but was hitting times I would have considered good for me even then. This was nice to see, as the season drew to a close I saw my times creeping up and up, I suppose that just shows you really do have to go backwards to go forwards. I’m now starting a brand new brick of training, and I’m faster than I was at the start of the first brick, a sign that there should be rewards to reap.
One of the hardest days was yesterday. Mainly, because it was a double session day. This was somewhat of a logistical nightmare because having finished work, I had a networking function to get to, leaving a teeny window to get the swim done, which wasn’t helped by the breaststrokers who chose to clog up the only lane available at the pool. I could have skipped the session, I’m sure, maybe refusing to do so makes me obsessive. But here is my favourite line: “Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.” You have to be dedicated and consistent to get where you want to be and dedication does not involve skipping sessions.
Ploughing through session two, a hasty swimming-pool-changing-room-re-dress and scoot to the car reminded me of some of the time more deprived moments of summer, and the amusing situations I’ve managed to get myself into, as well as the inventive time saving tips that I managed to weave into life. You have to see the funny side sometimes, as you wash your hair with shower gel, dry your skin with an old t-shirt and fall over trying to hop into tights in half a second flat.
Week one, I expected to be one of the hardest weeks. Tuning your body to hard work when it has been enjoying playful cycle trips and meandering through fields is clearly going to take its tole.
I’ve had weak moments (extra pauses in turbo seasons – *guilty*), strong moments (clocking my 100s) and amusing moments (swimming into old men trying to blast through a session). Regardless, I’ve made it through to rest day, with a fairly easy weekend ahead.
I’m a little dubious about celebrating, because I know this is just the start, and I’m only being gently re-introduced, but still, I’m here.
What kept me going when the tough got tougher, was the thought of next seasons races. Or, more specifically, next seasons opponents. If they’re not training yet, they sure will be soon, and they probably have more experience, more knowledge, better technique and are a damn sight faster than me. So, I suppose I best get on with it.