It's funny . . . It took me a good three or four months of training before I could really discipline myself to train every day. It took at least eight months to learn discipline with my nutrition. It took a year before I learned that I can discipline myself to keep going through the pain.
And now I'm learning to discipline myself by not training.
In the past few weeks, I've been phasing into group fitness instructing at Genesis Health Clubs in Wichita (I should be teaching spinning classes within the next two weeks). As part of this process, I've been trying to absorb the atmosphere of the group fitness classes as much as possible, since eventually I'll have the opportunity to instruct other groups as well (i.e. step aerobics, hip hop dance, yoga). Which has meant one or two hour-long classes a day, plus whatever I have in my training schedule. At the same time, I've been phasing my strenth training back in, now that I have a well-equipped gym available to me again.
For a triathlete, three workouts a day shouldn't seem like a big deal; neither should 3 and a half solid hours of training be so intimidating within the sport that produces Ironmen. But the fact is that my body has not been having the time it needs to recover after each workout. I know it's trouble after I sleep 10 hours one night and then fall into bed, exhausted, at 9:45 the next evening. I know I'm overdoing it when everything feels sore, and it never seems to go away. I know I'm pushing myself too hard when every workout is accompanied by a phlegmy feeling in the back of my throat.
I just know.
So now my primary issue is stepping back from my schedule and realizing that not only will I not get faster and stronger by continuing to push myself, I might actually do some damage. Overtraining can lead to injury, and the work you put into your body when you've been going too hard for too long doesn't translate to improvement. I've had to discipline myself to say, "No, you are not going to follow your schedule tomorrow; you are going to take a day to recover. Tomorrow is not a day you could be getting faster; tomorrow is a day you could be resting so you can go strong again next week."
A lot of traaining is learning discipline, and sometimes that means knowing when to chill out, watch TV, and eat animal crackers.