Let me reiterate for those that didn’t read or pay attention to my previous posts. I am TAKING A YEAR OFF of triathloning. I get injured. I’ve spent some time in the med tent after races. I’m nowhere near the best that I can be at races, especially on the run. These injuries, bad races, dehydration issues, and saddle sores large enough to name are not healthy.
I’ve been a “Less is More” athlete for some time now. Buuuuut, like any good little endurance athlete, I get caught up in the hoopla and whoopty-doo that is high mileage (and maybe a little friendly Strava competition here and there). Most of us worry that we are undertrained. I usually have a specific training plan full of intervals, bricks, hill work, and rest days. Then I freak out and tack on a bunch of junk mileage.
Some athletes require hours upon hours of swimming, biking, and running to be better endurance athletes. You won’t get an argument from me if it works for you. It doesn’t work for me. I logged many 100+ mile bike weeks training for France. The effort gave me some great legs and confidence on the bike…and a 0.5 mph improvement. My aero wheels and crazy helmet did better than that at improving my average speed. Early in training I was following lifting programs from two great strength and conditioning coaches.
I was faster and stronger on the bike then, but I didn’t have the accountability. I was going through the plans alone. When I learned the ITU Long Course World Championship swim was a 4K, I panicked. I quit strength training and built my OWS time (lot of good that did me). Luckily, I did the strength training programs long enough to have finally built to a 12 hour training week sans injury. However, I came back from Europe totally burnt out on triathlon and looking for something else, which led me to Koda CrossFit in July. And my dear, sweet Helen (3 rounds):
- 400 m run
- 21 KBS 26#
- 12 pull-ups
I did not feel like an endurance athlete that day. Even scaled (18# KBS and blue band-supported pull-ups) I felt like a slug. I felt all of my weaknesses and could barely recover my dignity on each run.
I have almost quit CrossFit multiple times. I’m scared. It is running season and I am only running 15-20 mpw. I also worry about injury, but, if I get injured, how’s it any different from the last 11 years of running injuries? It’s not. If I get hurt doing CrossFit at Koda, then it will be because I over extended MYSELF. And if I quit Koda, how’s that any different than all the other times I’ve quit strength programs before I’ve reaped their full reward?
What’s different this time? The community. I have knowledgable coaches that can identify my weaknesses before I have lifted a bar off the ground or landed on a box. Additionally, a couple of these coaches have completed multiple distance events (including a full IM). I wouldn’t say I’ve made friends. I’m too darn quiet because I am still pretty embarrassed about how weak I am. (NOTE: This does not mean I am shamed into lifting too heavy by myself or anyone else at the gym. If you feel this way where you train, reevaluate your personal goals and/or go somewhere else.) That being said, other faces that I recognize, recognize me. These people share words of encouragement and we all share in the self-fulfillment that is completing a WOD or achieving a new personal best.
To be a better athlete, not just now but for the long haul, I have to learn to push myself in a different way. The tools I’m using are not working and are only breaking my body down. I need lateral strength to bring balance to my body as much as I need strong quads and glutes to climb hills. I need soleus flexibility as much as I need a midfoot strike and strong calves. I need to push myself harder without hurting myself. Friends and fellow athletes, however, are worried about me and send me articles that talk about CrossFit’s “dirty little secrets“. This led me to mention rhabdo to one of my coaches. Their response:
“Koda does everything possible to prevent any injuries, including something as severe as Rhabdo. We always scale according to someone’s experience and ability level. In order for someone to be susceptible to such severe injury, they would have to completely disregard everything the coach is saying to them in class.”
I think paying attention to what our bodies are capable of and remembering our long term goals are KEY to keeping us healthy. Sure, I have the mental capacity to push past a lot of pain. However, I recognize my weaknesses much more quickly with functional strength training. I have no problem scaling back and admitting that I NEED a coach. I not only HAVE to listen to these people, I WANT to listen to them.
So…you won’t be seeing me at CrossFit competitions or even at the Crossfit gym 5+ dpw. Nor will you see me eating like a cavemen (I like beans and rice.)
And, while it has been touted as a great way for cyclists and triathletes to get faster, you probably won’t see me on any triathlon podiums. You also won’t see me completely replacing endurance training with CrossFit. However, I think that my chances keep improving that you WILL see me in the 80+ age groups at triathlons years from now. I am, hopefully, building a body that can withstand what I want to put it through for a long time. The experiment continues…