Posted by: pursuingsub17 | March 13, 2012

Taking a break from racing is a tough decision

I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with this blog lately. I’ve actually been having a hard time working up the energy to train for my marathon. I blew some long runs when I was on holidays (NOT like me at all). When I came back, I’ve been suffering from complete exhaustion.

My legs feel like lead all the time. My mental endurance is all but gone. Maybe if I had the mental will power, I could get over the heaviness in my legs and lack of energy – but it just isn’t there. I think there’s some enthusiasm but by the end of my workday, I just feel physically and mentally drained all the time – whether I’ve slept well or not.

I was really debating over the last few weeks if I just needed to switch my registration from a full marathon to a half – but then I started worrying about whether or not I had it in me to even train for a half ironman – the Calgary 70.3. It was such a beautiful course – and I wanted to really do well this year and focus on my nutrition and the power in my bike. But I just can’t muster up the mental energy – a requirement for endurance distance races.

It doesn’t surprise me. The last year has been wrought with difficulties. I am actually surprised I even made it through training last year. I had my flood in my condo, dealing with contractors and insurance companies that delayed it getting fixed by 5 months. We’ve had major money problems and debt issues. There was my cousin’s wedding and my grandmother’s death and I didn’t get any break from work in the winter. Christmas was even hectic. So I decided last Thursday that maybe I just need to take a year off and do some smaller races instead. Sometimes you need the mental recovery. I convinced myself that focusing on getting that book written will be a good trade off – as will studying massage therapy before I go back to school in a few years to get a jump start. But my heart sank on Sunday watching last year’s Calgary 70.3 on the PVR. I felt like I was breaking up with my boyfriend or saying goodbye forever to a best friend. Am I insane to like a sport that much that I would feel sick about having to take time off of it? Why is this affecting me???

I contacted the Run Wild organizers to see if I can drop to a half marathon. I’ve been perusing Alberta Triathlon Association’s list of races to sign up for an olympic distance triathlon and a few sprints. But in the last two days, I’ve been getting angry. I’m upset that I have to take time off. If I was injured, I could justify it but I’m not. Last night Marc couldn’t stop talking about triathlon races this season or sales on tri clothes. All it did was make me angry. I couldn’t explain it. I didn’t want to talk about it. I’m upset that I can’t do Calgary 70.3 this year. I’m angry that I made the decision to take a break when he’s back in the bike saddle. I’m angry that he’s talking non-stop about racing to all our triathlon friends and I feel left out because of my decision.

Yes – I could still sign up. But I know that signing up isn’t going to make me put in the proper training. I’m going to follow my 70.3 plan and then see how it goes. Maybe I’ll get lucky and my mojo will come back.

In the meantime, I have to look at reducing my training time – not feel guilty about the time off that I’m taking and pursue my other interests to feel accomplished. I’m not quitting – just cutting back. I have to keep telling myself that.

It’s a tough choice but sometimes you need a break.




  1. Just found this post through a search as I’m also thinking of taking a year out from competition. I race xc/marathon/endurance mountain bike events and have done for the last 6 years. I think more than anything we get mentally tired from all the planning/training/traveling and pressure we put on ourselves to perform at a high level and to feel as though we are improving. To what end? Who puts all that pressure on? We put it on ourselves and sometimes I think we just need a break from that pressure. We can continue training but at more of a maintenance level and to enjoy working out.

    Sometimes other things in our life get busy or need to take more priority, at the end of the day, racing isn’t that important. I’m going to take a break from racing this year and I’m not going to beat myself up about it, maybe I will be a lot faster next year because of the break. It sounds like you also need a year out from racing…..enjoy it.

  2. Just found this post through a search as I am also thinking of taking a year out from racing. I race xc/marathon/endurance mountain bike events and have done for the last 6/7 years. More than anything I think we get mentally tired/jaded from all the planning/training/traveling/racing at a high level year on year and sometimes we just need a break from that. The pressure to train and perform also comes from ourselves, sometimes we just need to take a load off. We can continue to work out but at more of a maintenance/enjoyment level. Normal life can also play a big part, changes that are out of our control need mental energy and we just can’t continue to put as much energy into planning/training and racing.

    From your post it sounds like you need a year off racing, I know things have changed in my life this year and continuing to train/race at that level doesn’t seem to be working out, so I’m going to give myself a break and take a year off racing. Maybe we will both come back stronger next year. Liked your post.

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