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  • Rachel Rutherford

Mental Fatigue, Training, New Job & Manchester

The last few months have given me a LOT of time to think.

For the first time in a very long time I have no injuries. My body is working as it should, I’m enjoying being out on my bike, topping up the tan on my runs and really missing swimming (I honestly never thought I’d see the day)

At the end of 2018 I was what I would call a ‘fast’ runner and cyclist. However, since taking up long distance triathlon my bike times haven’t been as fast as they once were, I have been riddled with injuries and the result is training that is anything but consistent.

Leading on from this since the IRONMAN World Championships at the end of 2019, I have found training hard, and I’m not just talking effort hard. I am going to call it mental fatigue.

No longer was I jumping at the chance to get out on my bike, or go for a run, and a lot of training sessions felt like a slog. You could say I almost felt a bit lost. I had just achieved one of my biggest goals in life and in turn had sort of lost my direction.

I signed up to a lot of races this year and I was excited. But jumping in with my heart before my head is something, I am guilty of doing in most areas of my life. I knew I was tired, I knew my body really needed a break, and I knew I was finding training somewhat of a slog. It felt like all I did was wake up, train, go to work, and sleep (but not very well).

While I know I am in the minority with my views on this, I am glad I had the racing decision taken out of my hands this year. I would already have done Barcelona 70.3 last month and would be lining up to represent GB as an age grouper in the same distance this month. But I knew mentally I wasn’t in the game and racing long distance when your head isn’t in the game, well I can’t think of anything worse.

Once I knew races were all of the table, I made the decision to take a break from coaching. I needed a break from the structure, and to find some enjoyment back in the sport that I had at some point stopped loving. For the last few months I have completely trained to what my mind wanted to do. In the last month I haven’t touched my turbo, and the power meter I bought isn’t working (classic Garmin aye).

I am now back at the stage where I enjoy getting out on my bike, and the first swim back in the sea was something close to amazing, even if I did swallow a few mouthfuls of questionable sea water.

I haven’t been doing any consistent speedwork recently, but my running is starting to get easier (and faster). This got me thinking, was my running not as slow as I once thought it was, but my ability to push body non-existent as my mind was tired?

In other news, I have just been offered a NEW JOB at the Coop and I am so excited! I will be moving to Manchester as soon as the hotels open so I can find somewhere to live! I feel like this is a new chapter for me, a complete fresh start and I cannot wait!

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