The second Monday snuck up on me this month and I really had nothing in the works. I’ve had some thoughts and feelings about training/life goals the last few weeks and wanted to write something up but just haven’t found the time. Well I guess today is that day. Lets start with this…
I found this quote by Robert Tew a few months ago and its been nagging at my sub conscious since. I’ve kinda been stuck in a rut after my broken foot and besides paleo/crossfit I’ve had a hard time getting excited about tri training. It’s been hard to stick to a training program and I’m just not excited about it like I was last year.
I now find myself at a crossroads reexamining my goals, I’ve reduced it down to one of two outcomes:
- Continue training for endurance races, and delay my path towards optimal health
- Give up (or at least postpone) endurance training, stick to crossfit and get on the path towards optimal health
Lets pick this apart a bit, the more I learn about how our bodies work biochemically and anthropologically the more I’m really starting to believe that any endurance training has a negative effect on our bodies. I wont get all technical on this but take my word for it that there is a lot of evidence that for people like me who are metabolically broken, endurance training is the complete opposite of what you want to do to lose fat and obtain optimal health. Anecdotal proof? Despite following diet plans pretty darn closely for the last five months, I’m still fighting the same ten pounds or so. Also here is a good post from The Miss Fits: You Can’t Serve Two Masters.
Adding to that is the mental/emotional stress. I’m a pretty busy guy, and I have a lot of varied interests. Committing to training 4-6 days a week, keeping up with my job, making time for social functions, and trying to fit in rest days has been just about impossible. I think I’m honestly more stressed figuring out my daily schedule than anything else right now. When I cant make it work, I end up feeling like I’ve failed and then the cascade of skipping workouts and emotional eating begins again.
In addition I have to look at why I started training for a tri in the first place. Essentially I looked around at the fittest guys I knew and said, “I want to be like that.” So monkey see monkey do, and I set off down that path. Here I am, just over a year later, and while I’m a few steps closer, I’m still miles away from where I’d like to be. For various reasons, I’ve also missed just about every goal I’ve set for myself. It seems to me that I’m just repeating history over and over again and not making any real progress. Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
While there is a mountain of evidence the supports doing only crossfit/paleo for fat loss, it means giving up on yet another goal. While completing an Ironman was the event I used to define this journey, the real mission underneath it all was to get healthy and to be able to do things in life that I wouldn’t be able to to otherwise. And if that is the real goal, given what I’ve learned, doesn’t it make sense to walk away from endurance training? (At least for the time being?) I keep coming back to that quote…
“Respect yourself to walk away from anyone or anything that
no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”
Continuing to train for endurance fails two of those tests, and only marginally passes the third. While crossfit is the polar opposite passing all with ease. And we’ve arrived at my dilemma. Walking away isn’t as simple as it sounds. I’ve invested a lot of time and money into training. A road bike, GPS watches, membership to a pool, race entry fees for the upcoming year, not to mention that I’ve built a small reputation among friends & coworkers as a budding endurance athlete. Facing them may be the hardest part of walking away, or at the very least postponing as they will think of me as a failure. Sure I’ll use the road bike from time to time and I’ll go to the pool every now and then so all is not really lost, but I believe the real damage is giving up on yet another goal. I think part of the problem is that finishing an Ironman (or any race for that matter) is a linear goal, while “achieving optimal health” is a much more ambiguous. What does optimal health really mean? How do you know when you get there? How do you define it?
I’m coming to a critical point in the next few days where I’m going to have to make a decision. While I’m already locked into a 5K this weekend and a sprint tri the following, my next races aren’t for a few months and those are biggies. If I’m really going to walk away, then now (or after next weekend I guess) is the time to say good bye. I’m not sure what to do, and the path is becoming more muddled as time slips by.