There is no hiding it, triathlon is full of type A athletes who would rather dig themselves into a hole than to skip a workout. While there are times to do workouts fatigued and nail the numbers, there are other times where workouts should be modified or skipped completely. Doing excessive workouts while tired can lead to burnout and potentially overtraining syndrome.
When you have a big race, such as an Ironman, around the corner taking a day off instead of doing your long ride may not be the best idea. However, doing the workout may put you in a hole that you cannot climb out of. Because of this, meeting in between, doing a longer ride but scratching the workout, can be the key. Here are some ways to get through that long ride, while building fitness without a set back:
1. Ignore your computer or don’t take it: Ride by feel and enjoy being outside. Most of us do this sport for fun which can be hard to see in the middle of a big training block. Ignoring the numbers can lead to some great, enjoyable rides which can help get your passion back for the sport. I recommend leaving the computer at home and just using a chrono watch as it is easy to stress over the numbers later.
2. Fuel but not with your race day fueling plan: When it comes down to it, most fueling products have a similar composition to candy, pop or cookies. Ball park your normal fueling calories, but use foods that sound good. You never know what you may discover. This is a great way to find things to put in your special need bags for Ironman races.
3. Ride somewhere you’ve never been before: When we were kids we started riding bikes to go places and explore. For most of us, two wheels were the first kind of freedom we had. Reignite that sense of adventure by riding somewhere you have never been before. Look for state parks, natural land marks, mountain crossings or monuments that are close enough to ride to. Ask around your local cycling community or use websites such as Ridewithgps.com or Strava to find rideable routes.
4. Discover an awesome bakery or coffee shop in the next town: Use sites such as Yelp! to find the hidden gem of a bakery or coffee shop you have never been to before. The excitement of trying something new will help you get there and the hit of caffeine/the excitement of fresh baked goods in your belly will get you home.