I’ve been racing now for over 15 years. After a health scare in my late 30s due to “lifestyle” issues, I successfully managed to lose over 20kg and buff up by following a gym regime. However I got bored with the lack of challenge, and signed up for Honolulu Marathon on a whim, somehow completing it in just under 5 hours. I quickly graduated to Half Ironman, then moved up to full IM distance the year after. Without being blasé, the distance holds no fear for me now, having completed 7 full distance IM plus numerous half IM and stand alone marathons.
But I’ve never actually been any good at it, to be honest I’m pathetically bad. Added to which I have never really enjoyed sports, but rather I enjoy the challenge of completing races some may consider impossible, pushing myself to achieve extreme goals. I, like many other amateur endurance sports buffs, am an all or nothing type of guy, just swapping excessive alcohol and cigarette consumption for excessive training regimes.
Bleah, I’m not unique and I won’t bore you with the details, but I have found that as I age, I’m actually using my brain a little more and not only have I started to enjoy the sports more, I’ve actually started to get a little better. The “less is more” approach seems to work well, and rather than make every session a grind fest of mediocrity, I now am learning the very old wisdom of splitting my training into more relaxed “stop and smell the coffee” longer or recovery sessions, specific “target based” skill sessions, and “push until you puke” hard stamina and strength building sessions. And as just about any book, website or semi successful triathlete will tell you – it works!
Just wish it hadn’t taken me 15 years to learn!