Training stopped and pulling out of the Etape Du Tour

It has been a tough three weeks. I was training well and my hill climbing had improved significantly. My training heart rate had elevated and I was enjoying the power up the hills in my legs. I had 7 weeks to go to Etape but have had to pull out because of work commitments.

It has been a mental challenge changing my mentality and knowing I was not going to do the Etape after 5 months of hard training and this included training in winter. I had just bought a pair of Zipp wheels and I had not even used them. I think the toughest challenge was knowing I was not completing something I had set out to do. I do not give up and this was a contradictory decision to my belief patterns. I also had been training consistently for over 1.5 years as I had done the Ironman last year. My body was used to training regularly and my mind was used to having a target to aim for and forcing myself to train through tiredness and a busy life. If I did  not have training to do I felt I had lost some purpose in my life. There were many people who knew I was going to do the Etape and now I had to tell them I was going to stop. Was I letting myself down?

I went through several phases of saying yes I will give up and then no I won’t. I loved the rides in the morning in the country side with friends. I enjoyed the challenges of climbing the hills and the sensation after training of completing my goals and having the rest of the day to relax. I temporarily stopped training and in that week it was a revelation to have so much time to spare. I got so much more achieved at work and I was able to meet up with business contacts. I also felt more energy and sharper at work.

I had clients come into me at work who were also training for the Etape and they made me envious. I spoke to a client who had not done anywhere near the same amount of training and I questioned whether I could do it with much less training. I decided to speak to my coach and pose the question of less training. My coach set me straight and said there is no easy way. You either do the training or you do not compete. He explained the need to train properly and it is not a race to take lightly. He immediately asked how many days I was willing to put into training and then told me I would need to train in France to get a proper perspective on hill climbing. The UK hills are nothing like the hills I would climb in the Etape.

I thought about the demands on my body and time and the need for me to be at work. I had completed the Ironman last year and that was my main physical challenge. The Etape was an event I wanted to do but did not have the same intensity to complete. I listened to my body and the experience of not training for a week was enjoyable. I finally decided to give up after changing my mind about twice.

Making the decision to give up has to mean give up. There is no looking back again. The worst part was now seeing my Zipp Wheels and wanting to ride on them. I have decided to continue shorter rides on the weekends to help a colleague train for his Ironman. This would involve about 3-4 hour rides and maybe every 2nd weekend. I did not have to train in the week.

I know my body will lose strength and my leg size will decrease. It is still disappointing when I think about it but I am happy with my decision now. I have committed myself to work and I am enjoying feeling less tiredness and more alert at work.

My coach has said I must set a new target otherwise I will drift into no mans land. I will be thinking about this over weekend. I still want to have a focus for training. I might look at short distance triathlons with less training and work on my speed. I think my legs are built for speed on the flats when riding my bike and I know my swimming can improve. My running is terrible but I can work on this as best as I can. Let see where my decisions take me. I am apologies to all those people reading my blog and wish you a great cycle at the Etape, I am jealous.

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