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Ironman Burnout

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I won’t go into detail about the negatives that have occurred in my life recently but they just have. With this specific incident it has still left me with night terrors, anxiety from sudden and load noises, and missing my family. The past few weeks I have been back in Madison, WI to teach anatomy at the university, continue with research, and hit some peak weeks with Ironman Lake Placid training. I thought I could handle it all. I thought the distraction of work, research, training, being around great people would be very beneficial but it turns out I kind of hit a breaking point.

Peak Weeks

After Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 I knew I was going to expect an increase in training. I was honestly really excited for it. Last year I didn’t get to train nearly as much or as hard because I was an athletic trainer for the track and field team and then I was moving from Kansas to Texas, went to Mexico for a month, and then moved from Texas to Wisconsin…it was a lot. So I know that so far all this training I have gotten in is more than I was able to accomplish last year when I trained for IMWI 2018.

Last Week

was 100 miles (first century for this training) followed by an 18 miles the day after. I felt okay.  I didn’t think I was going to feel amazing, I know that but something about hitting it hard during the week with speed, hills, and then some long training weekends, plus not getting recovery (because of life circumstances) was not a good combination.

This Week

This week leading up this hard weekend I felt like I could dominate the workouts but the next day I would just feel so tired still. I would put myself in bed by 9:30 and I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until 11 PM sometimes midnight. I would wake up the next day feeling horrible but then I would still do well in training. Bruising around my body started to show up early in the week after a hard run speed workout, which concerned me.

This Weekend

110 miles was on my schedule and I scrambled to find any people that could help me get through this ride in shifts. The first 60 miles of the ride were enjoyable. Something I love is an early morning and being out on the road with friends. Some of the climbs were tough as usual on the IMWI loop but I just felt like it took more out of me than the norm. 60-85 were probably the worst of it all. We went out and back on the IMWI course again and I started to feel myself dying off. I cried a ton during this time. At one point I missed a turn and ended up on highway G alone. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with my pacers. These miles felt endless. The wind was horrible and it just took a lot more effort than expected compared to last weekend. Miles 85-110 I had one friend left that was willing to help me finish it. We went on the Military Bridge path and the Capital City Trail path and got in the mileage on some flat road and some rolling hills. Going out was tough with the wind but coming back was bliss where we held about 20 mph.


Despite finishing strong and being happy I accomplished a tough distance on a tough day I don’t think I have it in me to do 20 miles as a training day the next day and that makes me really frustrated since I am one to stick to a plan and do all of it and never miss a day or a training session. It makes me more frustrated that I still have a couple more weeks of peak training and I wasn’t able to accomplish it flawlessly.

Burn out

My body is telling me that I am doing more harm than good. Signs of burn out are there, signs of overtraining syndrome are there (http://journeyto140point6.com/self-care-in-triathlon/), and my want to do triathlon is still there but very low. No 20 mile run today but instead, stretching, resting, and recovering. Hopefully by Monday I can do something, but it may still be doing nothing is best. I have never trained for something so much, so hard, and so dedicated. I have really put a lot of focus on this training plan and it makes me disheartened to see it alter now so close to the race (5 weeks away with 2 more weeks of peak training left.)

Tips to avoid burn out and OTS

  • Communicate with your coach
  • Rest and recover when you need it
  • Eat and drink (I know these sound ridiculous but those are the first two to go for me when I am in high stress)
  • Go do things other than triathlon. Enjoy a walk, spend time with friends and family, go see a movie. Go do a different physical activity that brings you joy.
  • Know the phase of your training and why you are doing it? No need to hit it hard early on because perhaps that is not the focus of your training.
  • Remember the joy is in the journey. If it isn’t fun anymore and this is a hobby, is it worth doing? If so, why? Why are you putting yourself through this?

5 weeks

Until Ironman Lake Placid. This next week I will be in Las Vegas for work. The 4 after I will be back in Madison. Let’s see how this training pans out and let’s see if I can have some fun while I am at it.

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