A few months ago, I went on a weekend trip that involved a lot of driving and time spent with friends. Like a good triathlete, I packed up everything I could to complete my training to the best of my ability while on the road and prepared myself for a busy weekend. However, I ended up realizing early on that I was going to have to greatly sacrifice sleep, and therefore sociability, to get everything done. Furthermore, I was becoming stressed as I tried to figure out how on earth I was going to find enough real estate to bike on for my long ride, and I had not brought my trainer.
Ultimately, I decided to forego most of my training for the weekend to spend time with friends that live far away and be present in those moments. Could I have made those workouts happen? Sure! Could I have woken up at zero-dark-thirty, thrown on my bike lights, and gotten the miles in? Sure! Would that have fostered the best “Erin” for that weekend? Probably not.
You see, I spent years and years sacrificing more than I probably should have sacrificed trying to stick to the training plan. Taking it even a step further than that, I spent years being filled with anxiety if I couldn’t get a workout done that was on the plan. It was a special moment for me when I logged on to Training Peaks to tell Michael that I didn’t complete most of the weekend workouts, and I was happy that it had gone that way.
Over the last year, I have learned about balancing this sport that demands so much of us with other things in my life, and I have found that it is helping me train and perform better. Don’t get me wrong, I do not try to make a habit out of always saying “yes,” to the social thing and “no,” to the training. That can be a slippery slope that leads to no training at all. What I am saying is that sometimes we can’t get it all done and still operate as we would want to. And that’s okay. We should not be prisoners to the training plan. It should be something that brings us joy (well..maybe after the hard intervals are over). It should be something that challenges us to be better people– better athletes, better friends or family members, and better employees. So… get out there and do your workouts, but remember that you are not a training plan. You are a person that has a training plan. You do not turn red if your missed workout turns red on Training Peaks. (: