An interesting thing happened to me recently. I didn’t go to a taper meet this past August, but by the end of the month, my LCM end-of-season default hit hard—I still wanted to loll around and snarf cheesy crackers (and if you’ve been reading along, you know I can’t eat cheese or crackers).
Most puzzling is that compared to a “typical” summer, I honestly didn’t do that much this year. My weekly totals were always a few thousand below my norm. While I biked to the pool whenever I could, I struggled to do weights once a week, let alone three/week. I swam a few local events (5K postal, two LCM meets) but sans taper and tech suit.
My attitude towards summer didn’t change. Outdoor LCM is my favorite season, and it’s short, so I was highly motivated to swim every day. Even when pools began closing each week in August, I still made the effort to swim outside as much as possible—I swam in five different pools with no set schedule or goals beyond staying fit-ish.
Clearly though, my body was pinging my brain for break by the end of August. The last one I had, post Short Course Nationals, wasn’t about mixing it up with movies, different sports activities, shopping, lunch out, etc., because as I had a horrendous, plague-like, three-week cold. By the end of August, I suspect that my body demanded a rest when it knew it could—wouldn’t miss much pre-Labor Day with limited pool options and the upcoming scy/scm season is llllloooonnnnggg.
Craving a break may have been a seasonal trigger as well. Fall is always the start of a “new year” for swimmers, with everyone planning new goals and training regimens. I am no exception. As such, by the end of August, I had already entered “clear the slate” mode—catching up on a long list of tasks before beginning another shinny, new, big training phase.
After wrestling with myself a bit (“you didn’t work hard enough for a true break”) I was able to commit fully a break, which I ultimately did up proud. No exercise. I ate a ton (heavy on my fave treats, chocolate, sunflower seeds and rice crackers). I slept a lot. I junked out on girl-TV (the entire TLC season of Love, Lust or Run.) All for several, consecutive days…
End result? I learned a terrific lesson. Everyone needs an end-of-season break, no matter what the prior months entailed. It’s essential to recharge mentally and physically. Otherwise, you risk entering the new season already physically tired and on the edge of burnout.
Next week: Premie and Proud