I've been training for the Tobacco Trail Half Marathon for the last few weeks. The race is getting closer as February, thankfully, comes to an end. Seriously, I will be happy to see March just so I don't have to hear that annoying "Februany" Subway jingle! Arrggg! Anyway . . . the race is four weeks away, and I have been hitting the gym and working out rather hard following my return from south Florida and the Miami Half Marathon. As my long time followers already are all too aware, I was not pleased with my results in The Sunshine State, and am eagerly awaiting a chance to take on the Half Marathon again. I am . . . An Athlete on the Rebound!
However, I am precariously close to falling into one of the major pitfalls of training following a poor performance. Often athlete's (even the recreational athlete like myself) will have their confidence shaken following a poor result and become overly cautious about their next attempt or feel that they don't have what it takes and begin to loose their edge. We've all seen this story played out in every medium humanly imaginable -- it is a very old tale, perhaps as old as athletics themselves and is an easy story with which to relate. However, it is not my story, my confidence was not shaken in a manner that left me with a debilitating feeling of doubt. My confidence might have been given a bit of a stir, but I have not been paralyzed by my lack luster performance in Miami. On the contrary, my internal pendulum swung entirely in the opposite direction and have set about doing everything I can to ensure a better result from the Tobacco Trail Half. I know that I just had a bad day and have set out to prove it by running four days a week with gym session following all but my Sunday long run, full gym sessions on the two of the three days that I don't run. I've pushed myself to run more hills and insisted that I return to the gym to finish workouts that I couldn't complete before work. Laying an egg in Miami did nothing but steel my resolve, and that is the crux the problem. I am on the edge of the major pitfall of over reacting to a poor performance and training either to the point of injury or exhaustion: The Zealots Rebound Training Trap. I want to slim down and tighten up more before the race and set myself up for a success so huge that it will erase the bitter taste in my mouth from my last race.
But, attacking this race headlong and full force like Mel Gibson attacking a six pack of Foster's is more likely to guarantee another poor performance than the type of results that I covet. Thursday morning, I pushed myself through and 6 mile run despite a persistent soreness in my ankle and heel, and I stubbornly followed it up with a hill 8 miler on Saturday. By Sunday, I felt worn out, yet so strong were the urges of my athletic rebound that I nearly refused to compromise and take an extra rest day. I kept attempting to justify the extra off day to both myself and my wife, who eventually just told that there was no need for me to justify anything to her, and I should do what I wanted/needed. That was when I realized what just how close I am to falling into The Zealots Rebound Training Trap. I need to be confident that my training will have me ready without going complete workout crazy. I need to be flexible, listen to my body, and not rigidly adhere to plans that are were good in theory when I made them, but are now a tad unrealistic. The Pitfall is there. I see it. Now, am I smart enough to avoid it?