04/20/12 To Train or Not to Train, That is the Question…

To Train or Not To Train

The Bomb

Tomorrow morning I have my first ever “race”, it won’t be much of an actual race because I won’t be “racing”.  The clock will be an insignificant part of this equation, as my only goal is to finish, and finish having given every ounce of effort that will exist in my body tomorrow morning.

  RARE-10K_Devin

As the race time looms ever so closer, I don’t have much fear, or anxiety, just the pangs of anticipation, and curiosity towards the unknown. 

The weeks leading up to this Saturday have been an interesting 6 weeks of two a day workouts two to three times a week.  What had originally started as a one-month experiment is turning into a way of life.  I can’t say it’s been extremely difficult, but I can’t say it’s been easy either.  I’ve had moments where I’ve felt like fucking Superman, but have also had many moments where I felt like a pile of shit that you would find at the bottom of a pile of newspapers in the house of a hoarder. 

So for about six weeks this has been my schedule, Monday Morning CrossFit WoD, Tuesday Morning Crossfit WoD, Tuesday Evening CrossFit Endurance WoD, Wednesday Off, Thursday Morning CrossFit WoD, Thursday Evening CrossFit Endurance WoD, Friday Morning CrossFit WoD, Saturday Morning CrossFit Endurance WoD, Saturday at noon CrossFit WoD (depends on the WoD and how I felt.  As result of this schedule in a 31-day month I worked out 32 times with 8 days off.   Strangely when the month ended I felt okay.

That “okay” feeling changed the first week in April, on the first Thursday evening workout, I felt like shit.  I now understand that a big indicator for me that I’m overtraining is my mental state.  I don’t often feel awesome during my workouts, yet I continue to function in a place of tenacious desire, so I always find myself pushing harder and harder as workout progresses. 

When that tenacity starts to wane, and I feel like taking shortcuts it’s a clear sign that I need rest. 

So after my first Thursday duo of workouts, I took an extra day off.  The following Monday when I started back up on my schedule I felt okay, but not great.  I did feel a small level of sluggishness; so I chalked it up to a bit of rust from the rest, or that initial tightness everyone feels when returning to working out after a layoff. 

I realize how absurd that description of my 3 days of rest is, but three straight days of rest for me is an extended period off.

As the next week passed I wasn’t feeling 100%, I had days where I was 80% on, and days where I was 90% off, but I felt the desire to push myself, everyday so I continued to push.

When this week started I felt good, even having done three days of two a days the week before.  Monday, I felt great, and I was looking forward to the WoD’s the rest of the week. 

…then a bomb was dropped on me by Tes.  This week being the week of a race, she posted her “taper schedule”.  After a week of following this “taper schedule”, I will now call it Tes’s suck schedule. 

In order to rest everyone’s bodies for the race, her suck plan was as follows, Monday CrossFit WoD, Tuesday CrossFit Endurance WoD at 70%, Wednesday Off, Thursday CrossFit Endurance WoD that was really short, Friday Off.

I do realize the inherent irony in the statement that being told not to workout for a guy who was almost 450 lbs, as a bomb being dropped, yet that’s how it felt.  I truly felt like someone had decided it was my week to get fucked with, and that Tes was telling us not to WoD as a punishment for missing interval times the week before.

Being told to rest for a person who has my emotional sickness is like a bomb.  I have two speeds on, and off.  Being told that it’s better for me to be in a state of off is fucking hard. 

The Week

As a result of the tapering schedule I found myself on an ever-changing roller coaster that is my emotional and physical state during Tes’ Suck Week.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning, when I woke up I felt good, I had a good deal of energy, and I was ready to give 100% at the CrossFit Endurance WoD that night.  When I got to work, in a matter of a few short hours, I encumbered my management staff with about 15-20 new projects which I told them I expect to see done in the next two weeks.  I’m not sure if they completely understood me because I was talking like the guy from the MicroMachine Commercials.

 

At the WoD Tuesday night I was alert, coherent, but felt like I hadn’t done anything all day, so I stayed after the WoD to work on Recon Ron, core work, and the 100 push-up program. 

Wednesday

This is normally a rest day for me anyways, but when I woke up I felt like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, I wanted to pick a fight.  My hormones were on override, so one minute I wanted to put on my kilt, paint my face blue, and fight the English, then the next minute I would get a boner with change of the direction of the wind, okay so I can’t call it a boner, how about just a “bon”, (fuck you, I’m Asian). 

 

Wednesday evening I took my self-destructive behavior, and applied it to work and I stayed in my office until 8 pm.  I traded two a day’s for self imposed 12-hour work days.

Thursday

I had a full day of appointments, dealing with family concerns, my business, my future business plans, and lots of time on the road driving.  When I woke up in the morning I felt drained, like a crucial part of my body wasn’t functioning, like my liver or kidneys.  I just felt off.  I still had more energy than I’ve had in months, but I just felt off. 

There was a slight lack of mental clarity.

By the time I got to CrossFit Endurance, the last thing I wanted to do was run.  I wasn’t tired, or even fatigued, I just didn’t want to workout.  Which was weird, because the entire week all I wanted to do was the days WoD.  It was tough as hell not going in to workout because each day there was something I wanted to work on, it was like Aaron, Erika, and Tes had established a Kabala and it was designed to fuck with my head by programming things I wanted to do into each WoD.

In any case while at Patriot I laid down waiting for CFE to start, and I would have been just as happy to take a nap and skip the WoD.  When I did finally get up and do our short WoD, I felt like shit.

The OFF switch had officially clicked, and it was now time to leave it off, I even whined to Tes that this week fucked me up, and that I feel worse than when I was working out. 

She gave me a look that was half pity, and half “you’re a jackass”, and said that’s a clear sign of over training.  I spent the next 15 minutes talking shit to myself, doing my best Allen Iverson impersonation saying to myself “I ain’t over training”, in the same tone he used to say “We talkin’ about practice”. 

  

I was bitter…like my 6 year old niece gets bitter, “I ain’t over training!”

Friday

Thursday night I went out for a drink with people from Patriot, mainly folks from CFE, and I had a few drinks.  When I woke up this morning I was tired.  Alcohol fucks me up, there is no doubt about it, maybe I shouldn’t have had anything, and I just hope it doesn’t linger until Saturday morning. 

This has been a strange week, I have no idea how the ups and downs will effect me tomorrow, I’m just trying to stay hydrated today, and I plan on going to bed early tonight. 

To Train or Not to Train?

Ultimately this week has left me with more questions than answers.  I clearly saw benefits in my business life, while existing in a tumultuous mental state, most of which is from my own psychosis or desire to achieve more, I want to get to my goals, and I want to get them sooner rather than later.  Each day that I’m not working towards those goals is a day of failure, each day that I can’t push my body to it’s limits is an epic fail. 

I want to succeed in areas of my life where I have failed in the past, and most of those failures occurred as a direct result of not having the willingness or understanding of the price that has to be paid to achieve anything.  Today I am more than willing to pay the price, multiple times if I have to, but is that desire to pay the toll for success the reason I am hurting my ability to grow faster, and reach my goals sooner. 

Do I have to be like water, and stay fluid so I can form to whatever the situation calls for, or do I need to be like a boulder, rigid, consistent, and stalwart, or is there something that I am missing, overlooking, am I contributing to my success or failure?

Am I in the state of “try”, and not “do”, am I loser who wants to win the race, and not the winner who races because he loves the race?

What’s the point of all this?  Where’s my vector? 

How do I know if I’m overtraining, or just slacking?  How do I keep the intensity I have which is forged with intense passion and desire while balancing my body’s ability to recover and grow?

Simon at dinner last night said something interesting.  He does the work because he finds fun in the overall scope of what he does.   Which I can appreciate… He didn’t have a chance to elaborate on what the fun is, whether it’s the comradery, the feeling of accomplishment, or the actual work itself, but I’m not looking for fun. 

My desire to pursue physical activity is to overcome a challenge, and push my mental barriers beyond the capability of my physical limitations.  It may be insanity at it’s best, but something, which is laid dormant for years, has woken in me, and I can’t seem to tame it, so I can use it to my benefit. 

I may never understand it, or tame it, as much as I hate running I could end being one of those crazy ultra marathoners who run 100+ mile races…okay maybe I’m not that fucking crazy.

End reader judging here…

3 responses on “04/20/12 To Train or Not to Train, That is the Question…

  1. Tom G

    I definitely understand where you’re coming from. Prior to CF, my fitness background was long slow distance running. It was difficult for me to internalize the concept that rest was a big part of training. In my mind, taking a day off or resting when I felt beat up was quitting. The result usually ended up being that I’d power through until I hated running so much that I’d give up on exercise all together for months or longer.
    I now know that I’m a better, happier athlete because I occasionally take a few days or even a week away from the gym when I need it. I love running and crossfit more because of the time I spend away from it. Balancing my work and rest on daily / weekly basis has kept me on a steady track for the last two years and I don’t see any signs of returning to my old habits of being and “on or off” athlete.
    See you on Saturday!

  2. Tes PCF

    Louis!! I think I’m going to have to more mirrors in my place for all of the “Faces of Tes” you paint. 🙂 haha! First, tomorrow will show you a lot about your ability, your potential, and what your current state is. Over training is not something that is often known to those outside of the endurance community because it is not something that can be taught or even researched enough to say how much is too much. Several scientists have tried to research over training but have only received feedback on the mental fallbacks but they have not been able to truly reach the physiological setbacks due to everyone being different and the long period of time it really takes for over training to occur. Because of this, it is not often seen in communities except for LSD where we utilize periodization and have the mindset that more is the only way to get better. So how do you know if you are over training? As mentioned above, the phsychological effects are typically seen first but overall symptoms of over training can include: irritability, change in sleep and eating habits, increased resting heart rate, lack of movitation and ability to maintin PRs. Most athletes think they are supposed to hurt and that they are only making gains if they are sore, feel like they’ve been thrown up against a wall or feel tight/wound up and ready to explode (be powerful) at any given moment. This is not so. Your body right now is repairing itself and mending, something that we are supposed to do at night but if you over train the hormones that your body releases due to training so much prevent that from occurring at the rate that it should. Your body is trying to make up for time in this short period so inevitably you feel like crap! I could go on and on and on about this but we can talk in person as i’m sure no one else on here really wants to read this. I’m excited to see how you feel after tomorrow. Remember to take your electrolytes today and drink at least 1/2 your BW in water today. Eat well and we’ll see you kick some butt tomorrow!!

  3. fattestblogger

    @Tom, I’m trying to find that ground where I am happy with myself and my efforts, while not abusing the crap out of myself. I think I told you last night, I’m used to feeling like shit, so if I don’t it means I’m not working hard enough.
    @Tes, I am going to develop a chart for all the many faces you use in your coaching. As I stated above, I don’t know when and where I’ll find that place of balance…
    Look forward to seeing you all eating Pizza at the finish line as I drudge across the finish line.

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