It's almost the end of January, marking about a month since I've been back to serious training. Overall it has been a great month. Not perfect, but getting back into training and fitting in all the swimbikerun has been easier than I anticipated. I think there are a few reasons why things have been off to a better start than previous years.
- Combine workouts and commuting. I've made no secret of my dislike of Metro and its incompetence (90 minute commute home last night. Please note that I live 7 miles from work). I'd prefer to avoid the bus and the train as often as possible. Since purchasing Blue Seventy's brick bag from Tri360, I've been run commuting, either from home or the pool, as often as my schedule allows. When I run from home, it's about 8 miles (it would be a few miles shorter if the Pentagon wasn't in the way) and just over an hour - a beautiful run down the Mall and past the Smithsonian. When I ran from the pool today, it was less than 6.5 miles and substantially quicker than when I take public transportation. By combining the run with my commute, I'm saving time and money and sanity - it also makes it easier not to skip out on my run.
- Do not put off until later what you can do right now. I've made an effort to get in at least one of my workouts, if not both, before going into the office, whenever possible. I'm not exactly great when it comes to waking up early, but having my dog stomp all over me when he comes back upstairs after breakfast is usually helpful in getting me out of bed. If I get home late from work, it's alot easier to push off the workout to another day when I'm less tired/have more time/in the mood to sweat. But if I get it done in the morning, I have more energy during the day, my mood is better, and it's rather satisfying to fill out my Training Peaks entry first thing in the AM.
- Buddy system. I've been doing a fair amount of running and biking on my own, but I've been meeting Kendra during the week for some swimming. Knowing that she will be at the pool, waiting for me at 6:30am, is the motivation I need to get myself to the pool at a decent time. This, in turn, ensures I have enough time to do the entire swim set rather than cut it short the way I have in the past.
- Plan ahead. In the past I've looked at my next workout as I was lacing up my shoes or grabbing my swim goggles as I headed out the door. Not a whole lot of thinking ahead. This was definitely poor planning on my part - sometimes I'd find out at the last minute that the workout was longer than I had expected or it was a brick instead of just a bike ride. I'm making the effort to look at my workouts for the week on Sunday and then check my next day's workouts the day before. I haven't had to cut a swim, bike, or run short yet because of poor planning.
- No excuses. There have been plenty of nights that I've gone to bed later than I wanted and morning rolls around earlier than I'd like. Or I'm at my desk at work and suddenly it's 6pm and I still have to do TRX in the gym downstairs at the office. Or I overslept and if I do my run before work, I'm not going to make it to the office until some embarrassingly late hour. I'm not allowing myself to make excuses due to surrounding circumstances. Ninety-nine percent of the time, if I want something badly enough, I can make it happen. This applies to training as well - Overslept? Run commute and kill two birds with one stone. Wake up feeling tired? Go to the pool anyway, it will help with your energy level and you can go to bed earlier tonight because you won't need to swim after dinner. No excuses, just put your head down and do the work.
- Get excited. It is almost February which means March isn't far away and April follows shortly thereafter - and so does triathlon season. It's hitting me that I get to race in just a few short months and I'M EXCITED! I can't wait! I still have a few races to sign up for, but I'm super happy with my schedule, especially when I find out about which of my friends are racing with me.
So that's that. My motivation level is high and training doesn't feel like drudgery. I find that I'm in a better mood when I get up and get my workout done - because after all, I don't think I've ever finished a training session filled with regret. But I know I've always regretted skipping or postponing one.