Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Benefits of massage for triathletes

As many of you know, I am a registered massage therapist at Swansea Massage Clinic at Jane/Bloor and WattsUp Cycling at Kipling/Gardiner. I am also an endurance coach to many triathletes, runners, swimmers and cyclists and an elite triathlete. I received my BScHon from McGill University in Biochemistry, my MSc from U of T in Medical Biophysics and my massage diploma from Sutherland-Chan. I have been coaching for 15 years and a massage therapist for the past 2 years. This blog post is based on a talk I gave at the Running Room and will demonstrate how massage can help triathletes.

Massage, by definition, is the assessment and treatment of soft tissue and joints in order to maintain, rehab or augment physical function or relieve pain. This means that massage therapists can perform various forms of assessment such as assessment of posture, gait, muscle strength, nerve function, and even more. In addition, therapists can perform many techniques such as general Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, myofascial release, low grade joint mobilizations, muscle energy techniques and some massage therapists are even further specialized and can perform modalities such as acupuncture, myofascial stretching, cupping and Active Release Techniques (ART). Even if you don’t know what these techniques are, you can bet that any manipulation that can improve the function of soft tissue and joints can be of use to triathletes, given the strain of swimming, cycling and running on the body. Also, massage therapists usually spend an hour or more with each patient, which allows for a more holistic approach to therapy. This means that rather than focus on just one area of the body at a time, like some time constrained health practitioners have to (some Chiropractors only have 20 minutes with their patients - however, my Chiropractor Bill Wells spends as long as he needs to relieve pain!). Massage therapists have time to assess related areas as well and sometimes the whole body.

So, when would you go see a massage therapist? Most triathletes who I see either come to me for maintenance of function, injury prevention and/or to benefit their performance (if they have an upcoming race). Other times, triathletes come to me with various injuries and pain.

Massage for maintenance:

Massage for maintenance of function and better performance is very important. A massage therapist can assess an individual and identify muscles that are weak or joints that have decreased mobility. They can use various techniques to improve circulation, break up adhesions, increase range of motion and decrease muscle tension. Massage has even been shown to reduce overall anxiety, lower stress and improve sleep, all of which can all help prevent injury and improve the performance of triathletes. Not only that, but massage therapists are qualified to provide a strengthening and stretching program that can complement a triathletes’s training plan.

How often should a triathlete go for massage?

When I was competitive, I would go for a massage once every 1-2 weeks or about once for every 30 hours I spent training. For most recreational athletes/triathletes, this translates to about one massage every 2-4 weeks. This is what I recommend to the athletes I coach. However, other factors play into this. If you are older or have a history of injury then more frequent massage is beneficial. If you don’t stretch or do your own program of stretching and strengthening, then this means you would also benefit from more frequent massages. If you see a chiropractor or physiotherapist, then less frequent massage is necessary. It also depends on budget. If you have a health care plan, (and this is a good time to mention that most benefit plans cover massage therapy) it’s best to plan more frequent massages when the volume/intensity of your training is high and less frequent massages when you are training less.

What is the ideal timing for a massage?

The best timing for a massage is the day or two days after a hard workout, on an OFF day or after light exercise. The day following a massage should be either an off or easy run day. I would recommend getting a pre-race massage 2-4 days beforehand. This shouldn’t be a very deep tissue massage, but a bit lighter pressure with the focus on circulation. Do not get your first ever massage right before a race.

What to tell your massage therapist?

I see a lot of patients who tell me mid-way during the massage that they are training for a triathlon. Before the massage starts, you should most certainly let your therapist know what you are training for, your total training volume at the time, how often you are doing speed work, hills or intervals, if you trained that day or have a training session the next day. If you are OK with allowing a few minutes of the massage time for assessment, tell your therapist this if they don't ask you. This will allow the therapist to check your posture for any imbalances, check the strength of your hips, check your balance, check your flexibility, check common joints that typically get stuck: ankles, SI joint, tib-fib joint, upper back. That will allow for a treatment that is focused on ensuring proper function of the muscles you are using for your training.

Massage for injury:

There are many times when I see athletes who have various ailments. If this is the case, the massage therapist will spend about 10-15 minutes prior to the treatment assessing for the cause of the pain/injury. Even if it is knee pain, a proper assessment also includes checking the hips and the ankles and their associated muscles. Once the massage therapist has identified the areas of weak or tight muscles, or decreased or increased mobility at certain joints or a spot of swelling then that therapist will plan for the massage treatment. The massage treatment will last about 30-40 minutes with time at the end of the appointment for a re-assessment and for the therapist to prescribe a self-care program with stretching and strengthening exercises to help the injury heal.

There are many triathlon related injuries that I see. Acute injuries, such as those from a trauma, such as a rolled ankle or a ligament tear, can be treated by a massage therapist. In the early stages of the injury, the massage therapist can massage related structures (but not any swollen area) and areas that might overcompensate for the injured area. For example, someone with a rolled ankle will typically have tightness in the outside of their lower leg and usually tight muscles on the opposite leg from an altered gait/walking style. Some of the joints may also be restricted. After that structure has started healing, the therapist can help prevent scar tissue from forming and re-injury. For chronic injuries, which are common in triathletes, massage can also be effective. For example, tendonitis is often caused by muscle weakness, decreased mobility at a joint and increasing the volume by too much too soon, without adequate rest. Fro example, poor or uncontrolled mobility at the hips, glute weakness and hamstring tightness/weakness can be a cause of upper hamstring tendonitis. A weak rotator cuff can lead to shoulder tendonitis. Massage therapists can help this injury by massaging the tight muscles, performing techniques at the site of the tendonitis to help heal the tissue and by prescribing exercises to help to strengthen appropriate muscles. Another example, are shin splits, which can be relieved by the massage therapist massaging the front of the shin and improving mobility of the ankle. IT band syndrome (ITBS) is another common triathlete/running injury. Massage therapists can improve the mobility of the fascia surrounding the IT band, perform cupping techniques, decrease tension in the muscles surrounding the area and prescribe glute strengthening exercises to the athlete to improve stability of their hips. These are just a few examples of injuries and how massage therapists can help with them.

Good self-care for the triathlete:



Thursday, January 25, 2018

What Swimming Taught Me About Life

I started competitive swimming in grade 5. It all started when I tried out for my school swim team. I went to Allenby public school and we were lucky enough to have a pool. Yes, it was shorter than 25 yards and only 3 lanes wide, but that didn't matter. I still can't believe that simple structure would start me on a path that would define the rest of my life. I liked swimming on the school team so much that my parents enrolled me in the Granite Gators Novice Swim Team the following year. I was the oldest swimmer in the group, and that's probably why I was one of the fastest, and being one of the fastest was probably why I loved it back then. I sure wasn't the fastest forever, but I continue to love the sport. So, whatever the reason I swim, it was and has been enough to have kept me swimming at various levels of competition for 21 additional years and counting.

In this blog I will talk about some of the parallels between what I learned competitive swimming and how those lessons have helped me in the rest of life. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Sometimes the impossible is possible. It was February of 1998, the finals of the 200m breast stroke and my last chance to qualify for the Provincial Championships that year. I missed the standard by 0.02s during that race. The next night I had the 100m breast stroke, in which my previous best had me 4s away from the standard (a lot in a 100m event). I was much better at the 200m breast stroke and didn't think I would even come close. To a 12 year old, it seemed *impossible* to qualify in the 100m event. Yet, something magical happened in the finals that night and I swam a 1:26, 2s faster than the standard and 6s faster than my previous best time. That was the first time I remember experiencing what felt like *a miracle*. Since then, I have dared to dream big. I came 47/50 in my age group in the 2008 ITU World Champs, but I still dreamed of competing as a Pro Triathlete one day. Not only did I get to compete as a Pro triathlete, I came 23rd female overall in the 2013 70.3 World Championships. When I was stuck in a research job I hated, I dreamed of owning a Triathlon Coaching Business, even though I had zero business experience, only a bit of experience coaching, no knowledge of anatomy and I am an introvert to the extreme. Yet, after a lot more education, a lot of risk and a lot of I help, I have achieved my dream. And there have been other circumstances where I started from nothing, but had dreams of achieving something, and I've succeeded when other's didn't think I could.

2. Don't be motivated by extrinsic factors. My Papa, who (along with my Mamma) I credit for a lot of my success in sport and in life, once did slip and motivated me with "If you break 3:00 in the 200m breast stroke, I'll get you a pager." Yes, I did break that 3 minute barrier and I did get my pager. However, usually when you are driven by external motivation, the reward is not all it's cracked up to be (a pager is really not that exciting!). After breaking that 3:00 barrier, I realized it wasn't the pager that made me happy it was the feeling of accomplishment that came from that achievement that did. And I have remembered that moving forward. It's not about the medal at the end of the race, it's about racing to the best of your ability. It's not about the money that you bring home from your career (although some money is necessary) it's about the positive effects you have by doing the work you do. It's not about the status of Professional Triathlete, it's about getting the experience of competing against the best girls in the world. It's not about improving your diet so you can look good in your outfit, it's about improving your diet to move freer and be happier in your own skin. So, look inward when you set goals, because that allows you to be truly rewarded.

3. When you get injured, keep moving. When you hit an obstacle, find a way around it. The only swimming injury I ever had was once in grade 8 or 9 and it hurt to move my arm above my head. I'm not sure what the injury was, but it meant that it hurt to swim. What did I do? For that whole week (or maybe two), during swim practice time, I ran for 1 hour and kicked with fins in the pool for the subsequent hour. I didn't just stay home and miss practice, I did the next best thing that I and my coach could come up with. When I returned to the pool I had lost some swim fitness, but not nearly as much as if I had not done any training at all. This taught me two things: if you hit roadblocks in your life then find a way around them, take the next best path, and eventually you will end up back on track. It also taught me that when I do have an injury, to keep moving. Movement is the best thing. Obviously, if you are run injured then don't go to 5x10 minute intervals at maximal sustained power, but a low intensity swim or low intensity ride will keep your fitness from dropping drastically, promote blood flow which helps heal injuries, load the tissue a little bit (to prevent scar tissue from forming) and lower stress levels which can promote healing.

4. The pace clock teaches you to think quickly under pressure. There's nothing like swim sets like 30x100 on 1:25 pace time. You are swimming as fast as you can, have less than 5s of rest at the wall and are basically deprived of oxygen the whole time, yet you STILL have to count and perform simple addition. Oh, and swimming also teaches you short term memory. Because sometimes Coach says, "what was your time for each 100? And if you can't remember, you can do the set over again."

5. Pay attention to the details. Races are won or lost in 0.01s. If you take a breath too often or not often enough, if you mis-time your flip turn, if you take one stroke too many in a length it can make or break your dreams. This is something that holds true in life, too. A spelling mistake on a resume and it's unlikely you will get an interview for that job, one miscalculation or wrong decimal place on your tax return and you can owe a lot of money, one mis-step and you can slip on ice and break a bone. Swimming taught me that when I do something, I should do it as close to perfect as possible. It taught me to take the extra time to pay attention to the details. (I probably don't pay enough attention to the spelling and grammar in my blogs though!)

6. Hard work doesn't always mean you will be the best, but you should still work hard. When I was swimming as a teenager I had close to perfect attendance. I tried my hardest all the time and I didn't make excuses to get out of practice. I trained when I was sick, I trained when I was sad or mad, I trained when I wanted to be with my friends, I trained on my birthday. When I missed a practice for my grandmother's funeral, I made it up the next day on my own (with my sisters). I was one of the hardest working on the team. But it was apparent by the middle of high school that I would never be the best. I was just not given the swimming genetics to make me so. It was a hard lesson to learn as a kid. It was tough to know that just because you put the work in, it doesn't mean that you will achieve your dreams. However, working hard in the pool may not have made me the best swimmer, but it did teach me to work hard in life, because even if it doesn't mean I will be the best it will mean that I can be the best version of myself.

Of course there are so many more things swimming taught me, such as the importance of having goals, discipline (huge!), organization, be early or on time (you don't want to miss your race), failure to prepare means preparing to fail, respect your teammates, avoid drama, shave your legs regularly, don't do anything on a full stomach, etc. If you grew up in a highly competitive sport or club then I know you can relate to the above. And if you are raising kids, then I hope that he/she/they can find something he/she/they are passionate about and learn valuable lessons from their own journey.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Useful swimming tips: Part 2

This is the second part of a blog about useful swimming tips. Please see my previous post for more basic swim technique tips. Once you perfect your streamline, body position and front quadrant swimming you are ready to progress to more advanced concepts like hand entry, catch, pull and recovery.

Technique Tip #5: Hand Entry

Your hand should enter the water about a forearm's length in front of you and directly in front of your shoulders. It is a common mistake to enter the water with your hand too far in front or too close to your head. It is also very common for your hand to enter too narrow, so that it crosses over to the other side of your body. Keep your fingertips facing forward (don't enter the water thumb or pinky first) with a slight spread to your fingers (not tightly closed or widely spread). Lastly, upon hand entry, don't point your fingers upwards to the surface of the water, point them slightly angled toward the bottom of the pool.

A few useful drills/videos to help you practice hand entry are: salute drill and preventing the crossover

Technique Tip #6: The Pull

Your pull should direct the water straight back towards your feet and your finger tips point down toward the bottom of the pool (forget what you learned about an S-pull). A common mistake is to let your arm cross the center line of your body (especially when you breathe). Another common mistake is to pull the water too deep with a straight arm, so bend your arm at the elbow so that your hand passes about a forearm's depth beneath your body.

Technique Tip #7: The Recovery

There are some swimmers that prefer a shoulder driven/straight arm recovery stroke and others that prefer a elbow driven/bend arm recovery stroke. This video shows some various recovery styles. How do you know what's best for you? Typically, swimmers with a higher stroke rate prefer a straight arm recovery and swimmers with a slower stroke rate do better with a bent arm recovery. Also, swimmers with less mobility in their shoulders would benefit from an elbow driven recovery (yet, I commonly see the opposite which leads to injury). Key points are that the elbow should be higher than the finger tips during recovery.

If you have shoulder problems and want to switch to a elbow driven recovery, a few drills to try are: finger tip drag drill/zipper drill, salute drill, slow motion recovery

Technique Tip #8: The High Elbow Catch

This is the most difficult skill to grasp in freestyle and I recommend perfecting all the other aspects of your stroke before attempting to work on this.

To start to learn the high elbow catch, I suggest a specific progression:

1. Practice the high elbow catch in the mirror

2. Practice with swim tubing

3. Practice on the side of the pool deck

4. In water high elbow catch drills (best with fins, snorkel and less desirable is a pull buoy)

5. Picture yourself swimming over a ladder that is parallel to the surface of the water and using your high elbow technique to pull yourself over top of it.

The next part of my swim technique posts will be an open water skills specific post. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Useful swimming tips: Part 1

I have been swim coaching since 2003. I started as a volunteer coach for the Granite Gators Swim Team, helping introduce kids aged 8 - 10 to competitive swimming. Since then, I have worked with the most beginner child and adult swimmers, to very fast adult swimmers/triathletes. I have learned that fast swimming is a combination of good technique and good fitness. Spending weeks and months perfecting technique and swimming slow will not make you fast. Just like spending weeks and months building mileage with poor technique will not make you fast. There is a balance between the two and the correct time to work on technique, and the correct time to work on fitness. Today's blog post addresses a few common technique errors that I see all the time, and links to a few YouTube videos about how to correct them.

First off, I would recommend visiting the MR SMOOTH website. This website shows an animated view of perfect technique. Although this animation assumes perfect proportions, flexibility and that swim stroke doesn't change when you are swimming short events (50s), longer events (1500s) or in the open water or in a pool, it is a pretty good example of good technique.

While you read below, keep in mind the simple notion that having good technique means you swim in a way that reduces drag and increases propulsion. If you remind yourself of this, the following tips will be easier to grasp.

Technique tip #1: Breathing

This is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp for a non-swimmer. Proper breathing in freestyle is achieved by inhaling when you turn your head to breath and exhaling your air when your face is in the water. Don't try to exhale then inhale when you turn your head to breath. To exhale with your face in the water, try to use both your nose and your mouth. The action is almost like you are sighing into the water, with a more forceful exhale just before you turn your head to breathe. You exhale about 80% of your air before rotating your head to inhale. Do not lift your head up when you breath.

This video shows a few drills to follow to teach yourself how to breath properly.

Technique tip #2: Streamline

Adults often make the mistake of having 'lazy streamline position.' That is that they push off the wall on the surface of the water, arms spread apart, eyes looking forward. They then continue this lazy, loose body position when they swim. Focus when swimming should be being as streamline/hydrodynamic as possible. Think of yourself as a torpedo or a pencil. When you push off the wall, arms should squeeze your head, look down towards the bottom of the pool, arms reaching far forward, legs behind you performing fast, tight kicks (I will talk more about proper kicking later). YouTube Video Link 1 and YouTube Video Link 2

Technique tip #3: Body Position and Rotation

Before you focus on the arms, it's important to focus on your body position in the water. Your head, hips and feet should all be in a horizontal line, at the surface of the water. Your eyes should look down and only slightly forward along the bottom of the pool. The top of your head should point in the direction you are swimming towards. Your hairline should be submerged, but your whole head should not be underwater. A good head position will help raise the hips and legs closer to the surface. Other tricks to getting your hips and feet up are to press your chest into the water, to feel your heels breaking the surface of the water and to have a tight and fast kick that is initiated from the hips, not with the knees.

Also, it is important that the body rotates about 30-45 degrees on your longitudinal axis when you swim, even when you aren't breathing. To do this, think about initiating the rotation with the hips.

A few drills that can be used to work on body position are: Floating on your back and on your front (just like you need to stand before you can walk, you need to be able to float before you can swim), Sculling, Front Sculling, 6-kick or 12-kick switch drill, corkscrew drill and backstroke kicking.

Technique tip #4: Front Quadrant Swimming

There are two main styles of swimming. One is more of a windmill style stroke, during which arms move directly opposite from one another. The other is a style that is called front quadrant swimming. While there is a time and a place for windmill style swimming (usually great for sprinting), it is a lot harder to develop endurance and a good catch and pull for this type of stroke. It doesn't usually work too well for triathletes, either, as it often leads to breathing late (see this video). I like to teach front quadrant swimming to my adult swimmers. This style means that one arm passes by the goggles as the other arm begins to take a stroke. It also requires a more steady or 6-beat kick.

A few drills to try include are one arm freestyle (breath every 2 strokes, variation 1 in this video) and catch-up freestyle (breath every 3 strokes). Important to note is that drills used to develop a good front quadrant style stroke often require you to swim flat in the water, so always balance out these drills with good body rotation drills.

Look for Useful Swimming Tips: Part 2, still to come!

Miranda coaches from the Toronto Triathlon Club, runs clinics, does swim analysis and swim lessons for triathletes of all abilities. Book a privates session online or join the Toronto Triathlon Club.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Thank you to my supporters

Earlier today, I wrote a formal email to each of my supporters to thank them for their support this season. I thought I would share with you, my readers, how incredibly important their support was to my 2017 triathlon season. Below I have included some of what I wrote to them:

Bill (The Urban Athlete): Thank you for everything. I seem to battle through injury after injury, and this past year was no different. Yet, I was still able to achieve good results because you keep me going.

Scott Judges (Fitt1st Bike Fitting): Thank you. I feel aero and fast on my TT bike. My power numbers aren’t too impressive, but my position is (thanks to you) and that allows me to race at the top of the sport. In fact, I had the second fastest female bike split in Barrelman this past year.

John Salt (Multisport Canada): Thank you for such a wonderful race series and for naming me to the Ambassador Team. It truly has been awesome to spread the word about your series and race as much as did. I got into this sport because of local races, I re-entered the sport after injury because of your local races and I continue to strive in the sport because of your local races.

Rob Milligan (Blade Carbon Wheels): Thank you for introducing me to your fast wheels. They are both durable and aero (and good looking) and I absolutely loved racing on them this year. Without your generous deal on the wheels I wouldn't even have had race wheels and my season would not have been the same.

Don (One Capital): Thank you for giving me a place to stay when I train in the winter and for supporting me with new kits! I started the race season in top shape, partly because I was able to get a couple great weeks of training in Southern California. I wish I could train and race more with the One Capital team. Hopefully in the future.

Chris and staff (Enduro Sport): Thank you for getting and building me a REALLY fast bike with all the components I asked for and for always being there when I needed mechanical help.

Nick (Velofix): Thank you for all the tune ups! You can get the bike so clean and make it feel so smooth to pedal. No doubt I saved some time in my races because of your brilliant mechanical skills.

Mamma and Papa (High Rock Capital): You have done nothing but believe in me. You taught me to go after my dreams and you supported me all the way, both financially and emotionally. There is not a chance I would have been able to achieve what I have without you. Thank you, a million times and more, for everything.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Be thankful, even when you are injured

With the US Thanksgiving festivities yesterday, I was, yet again, reminded to be thankful for the things I have. Good family, good friends, good fitness and a job that doesn't feel like work being among them. It is easy to forget what you have, when dealing with the daily stress that comes with just living. Being late for an appointment can seem like the end of the world, missing a workout can make you frustrated, living in a freezing cold place like Toronto can make you wish you were born in southern California. It doesn't do any good to dwell on these details, and yet, I and most people do.

It has been an incredibly frustrating fall season with my training, in particular. With so much to balance, I expected my training time to decrease significantly in November. I was OK with this. I was going to cut back on cycling and swimming in favour of a bit more running. Running takes the least amount of time up for training compared to the other sports (especially when you have a treadmill in your bedroom) so this was expected to work out well. Adam laid out a training plan that looked perfect. I set out a few run specific goals that I wanted to hit in the spring. This was all great on paper, but when I actually started to execute the plan, the hamstring injury that had been nagging at me since after Mont Tremblant came back in full force. I got through my first two weeks of base running, had a decent run test and was feeling pretty good until the third week of training. In that third week I did a set of intervals and, while I felt OK during the set, it was clear afterwards that there was an issue. It hurt to straighten my leg when walking or running, right at the sit bone. While all the self-tests I did for proximal hamstring tendonitis were negative, I still worried. I started seeing my Chiropractor, Bill Wells, and he said I have an enthesopathy of the hamstring attachment. Basically, there is damage to the entheses which is where the hamstring tendons attach to the sit bone/ishial tuberosity.

Bill treated me with a lot of ART and that seemed to fix things. However, after a run the symptoms would come back. After an unending cycle of me running, hurting, Bill fixing me, me running, hurting, Bill fixing me, etc. I decided that enough was enough. My running goals would have to be put on hold until I was over this injury. It has been almost one week since my last run, I've been doing a lot of eccentric hamstring strengthening exercises, getting treatment from Bill, focused more on swimming and cycling because that's completely pain-free and I have an ultrasound booked for Monday to determine how bad this injury is. So, I am thankful that I am able to be proactive about this, that I am swimming really well (2 sets of 4x200 in 2:45 on Wednesday!) and can ride my bike a lot!

So, be thankful for what you can do, don't dwell on what you can't do. Be thankful for what you have, don't dwell on what you don't have. And be thankful for family, friends, love and laughter.

If you are interested, below is my core and glute strengthening routine, that I complete 3 times a week, with hamstring exercises added:

1. 3x60s plank (with 5 straight leg raises during each 60s interval)

2. 3x15 bird dogs/side

3. 3x60s side plank (with 30s per side) with 5 hip abductions during the 30s

4. 3x15 single leg glute bridge per side

5. 3x8 hamstring lifts with focus on the lowering/eccentric component

6. 3x10 push-ups

7. 3x8 single leg deadlifts per leg with 40lbs dumb bells

8. 3x25 theraband side walks per side

9. 3x10 nordic hamstring exercises

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Finding Balance

Just a short post about where things are at...

It's been just over 3 weeks since I finished off my 2017 triathlon season at Ironman Louisville. The race went fairly well, with a solid swim, a strong bike, which followed with a bit of a collapse on the run. The same theme that has plagued all of my long distance racing this season. Not that my running has been terrible, it has just not been at the level that it has been at before and the level that I believe I am capable of. Nonetheless, I finished 13th female pro. My race season this past year (from June to October) consisted of 2 Olympic distance races, 2 Long Course races, 2 half-Ironmans and 2 Ironmans. And it was largely a success. Highlights included being the Multisport Triathlon Series Elite winner, Ontario Provincial Long Course Champ and Elite Long Course Triathlete of the year. This past summer was also one of the most stressful of my life, with lots of other obstacles unrelated to triathlon to overcome. But, I persisted through it all, knowing that triathlon is what I love and nothing (and no one) can stand in the way of me doing what I love.

The next step in my triathlon journey is to try to find the best balance between training, recovery, work, family and everything else. This past summer I tried to do too much of everything. This may have worked out ok in the short term, but I know it won't in the long term. So, I've decided to take a step back from long course racing in 2018. This will allow me more time to work on my running and allow a bit more time for rest, since I won't be cramming in long rides in the morning before I am on my feet for 5hrs or more. While I'm not thrilled about the fact that I won't get to race an Ironman next year, I do believe that this will help me in the long term. Tim Hurson said "We tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we can do in the long term." If this is true, then I hope that by focusing on the long term and not trying to achieve too much in the near future, I can achieve my goals. If this plan doesn't make me a better triathlete, it will definitely make for a better balanced life.

I will try to post a bit more regularly about how I am going about finding this more balanced life.