I can already hear the mental scream of “WTF???!?!?” coming from one of our sponsors, Goldilocks Training. The moment she reads the click bait of this title the scream will most likely cause a minor earthquake in the confines of San Francisco.
This may seem surprising, but I’m actually convinced that the title isn’t click bait.
Let me explain.
For some individuals, triathlon is a religion. Or marathons. Or bootcamps. It’s as essential to life as breathing.
For others it’s a means to an end: A way to stay clear of other addictions, a way to stay motivated to stay fit, or simply something to do to keep from being bored. Or even to prove a point to all the naysayers in the world.
Triathlon isn’t easy. If it was, none of us triathletes would be doing it (that’s why everyone does fitness videos… anybody can do HIIT or CrossFit and look fit). Deep down, we love saying (either softly or loudly), “Oh? You ran a marathon? How cute! That’s my cooldown after a swim and a bike…”
Most triathletes are a strong “A”-type personality, who are driven to obsession and excess of deprivation. We count every calorie, every step, every watt. We watch our body fat with a compulsion that borders on insanity.
Hell, I’ve even hear rumors some triathletes even manage to have successful relationships with actual people and not just their bikes, swim gear and running shoes.
This pressure, and this obsession can lead to breakdown. Swimming, Biking, Running, Dieting, Strength Training constantly year in and year out can lead to a chronic mental fatigue.
Well, then it’s time to get fat and lazy.
Take a month off. Eat what you want. Try this mysterious food called “ice cream” (you’ll love it). Sleep in hours later than you ever did before, like say 6am or so. Go to a movie (that’s what many of us triathletes call “talkies”, since we just learned they recently invented sound and color film). Read something besides Triathlete magazine and slowtwitch.com. Maybe even have some adult beverages with friends. Maybe even reconnect with this person you call “spouse” or boy/girlfriend. Learn their names again. Even find out what they like to do.
You know, get a life. Live a little. Live a lot.
Oh, and don’t step on a scale or look at your burgeoning waist line for a month, either.
I know what you’re thinking. “But I can’t take more than 2 days off! I’ll lose fitness!”
Yup, you will. And you know what? You’ll love every minute!
You’ve earned it.
And then, at the end of thirty days, take a look down and notice you can’t see your toes. And step on scale. And think about how you’re sleeping (or not sleeping). And really evaluate how you feel.
You’re gonna feel like crap. You’re gonna look like crap. You’re gonna be sleeping like crap.
And that’s when your motivation will be refreshed.
Sometimes, we need a break from the everyday grind. Sometimes, you have to suffer a mental breakdown before you can rebuild. It’s okay. Really. Taking time away from the sport we all love can be a good thing. Spending time away allows us to reevaluate priorities and set healthy goal for ourselves for the future.
And, shockingly, you might find yourself actually injury-free. Many of us push on and on throughout a season with little “Niggles” (Thanks Crissy Wellington for that word!) that slow and torture our progress. This time off getting fat will allow the body to catch up, to recover, and to repair all that damage.
They key, however, is to make sure when we do start up motivated, that we start slow, easy, and fat. That’s right, we have to remember we are fat now and can’t do what we used to be able to do. We can’t lift the weights we used to lift, we can’t ride as long as we used to ride, and we can’t run as far or as fast. We have to start slow, fat, and easy. And it will be frustrating, but that frustration will be a form of motivation to return to our former glory. We can do it, we just have to be smart.
So, start smart. Start right, keep away from injury, and just remember:
Sometimes, you just gotta get fat.