|Spot the difference: before...|
Jonathan was very positive when I told him about the problems I was having with my back. He immediately sent me back a revised training plan (which may still need to be re-revised) with the comment that "this goes to mass" (meaning: no mucking about, this is a mandatory reduction in training load). You can see the difference between what I had programmed and what I am to do now in the graphs above. Now he's worried that, once the back pain subsides, I'll have a kind of training "high" from the sudden reduction, as if I were tapering in order to peak for the competition already. It's a delicate business this, getting the load right, and it is very difficult to be objective about it when you are immersed in the middle - again, this is why I think it is fundamental to have a trainer, just like it is fundamental to have a doctor, however much you have read up about your ailments on the internet. The great temptation will be, once my back is back (sorry) to normal, to rush back into training at the level I was before. It's very important to ease back in carefully, to avoid provoking the problem again. Now that I know that one of my "failure modes" is for my back to seize up, it is a useful indicator for the weeks of training that are yet to come.
In the meantime, with the sudden reduction in daily calorie burning I have had to be careful about what I eat. On a day with no training I have about 2,100 calories to "spend" and it is quite amazing how little that buys you. I miss my 1/2 kilo of sirloin steak.
By Thursday, the pain in my back had completely subsided and was a relief in more ways than one. I don't know whether this was due to being "manipulated" by Paloma two days in a row or just due to rest - I suspect a combination of the two. I actually noticed in the middle of the night that it was much better - at first it would still hurt to shift position but, by the morning, I had no more discomfort. The idea had been to take Thursday and Friday off work simply to be able to fit in the hours of training I had planned; in the end, in spite of having nothing more than a light swim to do, I decided to take the Friday off anyway. It's been a harder slog to get here than perhaps I had let myself realize so I think a little break from everything is a good thing. Now to attack that second "hump" of training with renewed vigour and the confidence of having been there and done that!
On another note, I booked my accommodation in Florianópolis - or, I should say, Cassia, the wife of Carlos who is also doing the Brazil Ironman with me, booked it for me (thanks!). It's not cheap - but then, the words "Triathlon" and "cheap" are very rarely seen in close proximity to each other. It includes an "Ironman package" which covers all the transportation to and from the airport and the event (with bike) and breakfast at whatever insane hour I'll have to have it on the day of the race itself. It looks like a lovely place so at least the family should enjoy it while I am biting my nails down to my knuckles. Cassia is Brazilian and has family from Florianópolis and is as good as being an Ironman herself in that she is married to one and knows all too well what it is all about. So I am in good hands as an Ironman virgin...
FLORIPA HERE I COME!