Tuesday, August 27, 2013


There is something that happens pretty much every season for me about this time of year. A couple years ago my coach at the time asked if I was feeling 'burned out' based on my comments in my training log. I thought about it for a while and replied, "Not so much burned out, but just a bit *crispy*"

That statement seemed to fit. It's that moment right as the toast starts to burn and you catch it in time. Still edible with a couple scrapes of the butter knife.

I think over the years that I've just developed a good body awareness to know when things are starting to smoke. There are a number of signs for me (which I'm currently experiencing):

  • Although I still get a good nights' sleep, I feel a bit restlesss and usually spend an hour or so of my night awake. No real stressful thoughts, just feel like I can't get comfortable. And you're talking to a guy that can sleep in a busy airport under the phone bank :-)
  • I get more irritable and have trouble concentrating
  • I really struggle with workout motivation, even once the workout is under-way. I can still push through and the results are still there - but even afterwards I feel so-so mentally instead of walking away from a tough work-out totally jazzed.
  • The crispiness tends to happen about a week after I feel like a million dollars and usually in the peaking stages before a big race.
  • More aches and pains than usual. 
  • I feel a general 'blah' - both mentally and physically. 

I'm pretty good about recognizing that this is the start of being over-trained and that the slope to completely burned out is slippery and steep. I've ignored this feeling only a couple times in the past. One year I had the brilliant idea that I would ride hard on the trainer all winter. I'm talking 4 hour sessions, intervals in the snow, etc.. I came out in the Spring flying. By late Summer I hated the sight of my bike so much that I voluntarily put it into the witness protection program for it's own safety.

The other time was a couple years ago. I was feeling crispy and then one track night decided to push through one more lap with a hamstring that was tightening up. I was part of a relay and didn't want to let my mates down - even though it was just a practice. Sproing went the hamstring on the final turn with 100m to go. I hobbled off the track into an 6 week rehab and about a year and a half before things really felt right again.

Right now I'm into the home stretch (less than 2 weeks) for Harvest Moon 70.3 (half ironman). Good time to just chill a bit and realize that the hay is in the barn and now it's just keeping things sharp until next week when training drops off steep to rest up for the race. Today's workout is a 90 minute easy bike ride - so it will be REALLY easy and rambling. Am just going to focus on enjoying being out in the fresh air and rolling along on the bike. Someone passes me on a hill, that's all cricket baby, have at it. See you in a couple weeks. I've got a couple more BRICKs to lay down, but even those are pretty short and if I'm not feeling it, then they ain't happening. Are you guessing now that this post is cathartic, self-affirmation :-)

Also just a public service message. Learn to recognize your own signs of being 'crispy' and you can keep out of the tree well that is burn-out, over-training and injury - which can take months to dig yourself out of.

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