No jogging. We looked at houses and scrambled our brains again with indecision. I have noticed that having an endurance sport as my job in the past has ruined my ability to use jogging as a relaxation technique. Some of my athletes say that they do their best thinking when they exercise while I need as clear a mind as possible to exercise. Maybe for me, life is a distraction from exercise, while exercise is a distraction from life for others? When my life gets hectic I stop exercising.
We've pretty much narrowed our house decision down to two completely different choices. One based on our practical and rational thoughts, and one based on our hearts. If we didn't have a son then this decision would be simple. But we can't be selfish now. And something I haven't mentioned before- my wife is 13 weeks pregnant with our second boy. So it gets a little more complicated. A new born up in the isolation of the mountains is something..
Life tends to intervene with our goals as athletes. Sometimes I think the timing is impeccable, other times, it is down right frustrating. Norman Stadler injured his foot in the month before Kona... forcing him to rest which allowed him to race Kona at his best and he won. Impeccable. I'm tired and need to rest... we're buying a house and my coaching business is exploding, all in the month before Las Vegas. Impeccable or frustrating? I can either try to race Vegas very well rested or 'life' will frustrate me this time. I shouldn't say 'frustrate' because my life is a dream. I could never, nor would I need to, ask for more.
I think I started typing this post with the goal of explaining the purpose of a rest break between seasons.. which is where I believe I am right now.. so I'll stop rambling and get to the point.
That really is a 4 letter word in the world of sport. We think that not training means we lose fitness. If this were true then couldn't I just walk out the door and start running, continue to run with out stopping until I became an elite runner? Training breaks you down and makes you weaker.. it's true. It's when we rest that our muscle rebuilds and our glycogen and hormone levels are replenished.. and we make fitness gains. It's also the time that our brains "recharge". They say that an athlete can't hold their peak focus before a race for more than 8 weeks. In general, I would agree. With proper rest breaks within this last period I think it can be extended to ~10-12 weeks.. but the point is- our brains are possibly more fragile than our bodies. Without a true rest between seasons we burn out an lose focus.
A 'true' rest break between seasons would be inactivity that resulted in a loss of fitness. In order to maintain fitness you need to train with the mental focus of maintaining a peak, which is the level of fitness where you would start your rest break from. In order to give your body and mind a rest.. a loss of fitness and sharpness is inevitable (and it should be welcomed!).
Now- if you have trained correctly in the preceding year then your fitness is at an all time high, so even with a loss of fitness you will still be starting the next period fitter than than the last. I have made a graphic to make to my point..
As you can see- if you take a rest break that is appropriate then you will begin your next season rested, recharged, and still fitter than the last year's starting point. Of note: this same graphic can illustrate the peaks and valleys of fatigue from week to week. If you rest every 3-4 weeks then your fitness will resemble the same progression from month to month. This graphic also illustrates the need for a long term goal- years!
Where was I? Oh... I think life is intervening on my training right now. A rest break is needed and I can't be trusted to take it willingly. The new house, the 17 new athlete's asking for coaching in the last month... someone is stepping in and it's not the raccoons that stole my shoes. If I can engineer a proper rest break and execute it, then I can come out the other side with an office, 3 bathrooms, and ton's of great athletes to call my own while running better than ever.