Argh – not this again.

A great many four letter words have been uttered during the course of the last few days, more than I would like to admit. Project Ironman has hit a major snag, motivation has skydived and I have at times felt like it would be much easier to just walk away. Hello to two of my oldest and most disliked acquaintances, injury and burnout.

It all started with a run. Nothing too hard, five miles on mixed terrain – something I would have thought nothing of during my half marathon training last spring. I ignored a slight twinge coming from my right foot during the last couple of miles, I have encountered similar things before and know that nine times out of ten it’s nothing to worry about. Once I got home the pain began to get worse, by the end of the day I was walking with a limp. At this point I did start to panic, when trying to turn yourself into a triathlete in four months an injury would be semi catastrophic.

It’s now a month down the line and my foot has only just started to feel normal again. My GP described it as a textbook case of tendonitis, the only solution being to rest as much as possible and hope the pain resolved itself. It’s far from over, I’ll have to be extra cautious with running for the next few weeks – we’re talking no more than a couple of miles on grass to begin with. Not exactly ideal race preparation.

On a more positive note my swimming has been steadily improving. It’s gratifying to see that gradual increase in both speed and endurance that comes relatively easily when new to a sport. I’d like to think I’ve managed to rediscover some of the technique that I managed to perfect all those years ago, at the very least I don’t get out of breath after 25m anymore. My times are still mid pack worthy at best but I’m optimistic for things to come.

Cycling has taken a bit of a nose dive. After the Tour of Wessex I made the classic mistake of not allowing myself enough time off. The result was depressingly predictable, tired legs and poor power output. Occasionally we all have to really drag ourselves out the door in order to go for a ride, during the last couple of weeks it’s been like that each and every time. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that demotivation, poor performance and poor recovery indicate overreaching. That and putting on 2kg over the course of ten days.

As a result I’m in the midst of an unplanned week off. It’s been five days since I last got on a bike, the longest break since the off-season. There are a few encouraging signs; I’m no longer craving sugary foods, my legs don’t feel sore when getting out of bed in the morning and I have enjoyed better sleep quality.

Nonetheless it’s all been a real pain in the neck, tendonitis followed by overtraining. It would seem that my initial prediction that swimming would be the problem was in fact very wrong. Getting round a Half-Ironman is sounding much harder than it did six weeks ago when I started triathlon training. All I can hope for is remaining free from injury and overtraining for the next three months. Crossing that finish line is going to feel very good, assuming I make it there of course.

Thanks for reading.

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