All of the serious triathletes that I’ve met will train at least 5 days a week. At least three of the days will incorporate two disciplines (bike and run, or swim and bike). The workouts are intense and done wholeheartedly.
On the other side of all that intense training is the need for at least a recovery day each week. In my experience, maintaining a high level of intensity without pause is possible, and necessary for great results, but without allowing recovery it leads to diminishing returns over time.
A few years ago, when I lived as a full-time self-employed person, I worked 18+ hour days 7 days a week for years. I refused to acknowledge that I needed time to recover. Eventually, I burned out and had nothing left to give. The physical toll was one thing, but the mental and emotional wear was probably more damaging to my ability (or willingness) to endure. To compound the injury, the recovery took years instead of weeks or months. I’ve seen this happen with several friends who are building their own businesses. They think that if they just work longer, harder and more intensely they will break through…maybe.
I’ve found that training for an Ironman akin to building new businesses, are both endeavors that require endurance. To last at either of them, there must be a cycle of intense work and time for recovery. Just as stepping away from a difficult problem to briefly focus on something else seems to allow the mind to identify new approaches to the problem, resting the body after prolonged intensity allows for repair and adaptation to greater workloads. It’s the combination of both work and rest that allows for growth over time.
This lesson didn’t resonate and become “mine” until I got into this Ironman Journey. Now, I’m on the lookout to see in what other aspects of life this will apply.
What an awesome journey