Training for Triathlon?
Avoid Chronic Adrenal Fatigue
Endurance training for triathlon should not include a bout with Chronic Adrenal Fatigue. Don’t let it sneak up on you!
From the beginning, I loved training for triathlons. I was elated by my incredible rise to fitness during the 11-months from “Turkey Tri” sprint to Hawaii Ironman. It was an exhilarating challenge. By July and August, I was invincible. Each day I rallied and revved up for that challenge until...
The hammer came down.
Exactly 35 days before Hawaii Ironman, I awoke on a Sunday morning and I felt as if I was going to die. I had never even heard of Chronic Adrenal Fatigue. But it quietly stalked me and struck me down.
I was so elated with the feeling of invincibility that comes with training for triathlon - especially iron distance. It was easy to ignore the classic signs of over-training that can lead to Chronic Adrenal Fatigue:
Classic Signs of Overtraining:
- Go to bed exhausted and awaken after 90 minutes or so, unable to fall back to sleep.
- Incessantly thinking about training and racing.
- Frequent and prolonged irritability.
- Restless and nervous.
- Impatient with those around you.
- Consecutive days where you feel no passion or joy for training.
- Nagging pains or injuries that do not subside.
Because Hawaii Ironman loomed over me like a giant, it was easy to ignore these symptoms. I was fueled by elation and ambition – I was gonna be an Ironman! On that Sunday morning, I was suddenly so weak. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was afraid of how my body might respond.
I was afraid of collapsing and dying. Triathlon training – beginner or elite – should not break anyone down to the point of Chronic Adrenal Fatigue!
Something in my body had “snapped”. I knew it was my endocrine system – I had damaged my body’s hormonal balance. Suddenly, I was an expert on Chronic Adrenal Fatigue. I laid in my bed on that Sunday morning and I cried. Suddenly, I was 85 years old. For the first time in my life, I realized I was not immortal.
During the 5 weeks leading up to Hawaii Ironman, I cautiously balanced on a very fine wire:
- On one side of the wire: Recover enough to stay alive and make the starting line.
- On the other side: Train enough so that I might still make the finish line.
This was not healthy training for triathlon. It was daunting, terrifying and tenuous. I had never been on a “high wire” before! The grim reaper quietly leaned over my shoulder every moment of those 35 days, just waiting to see if I failed to balance on that high wire. I would wake up at night and hear him breathing slow and quiet right there by my pillow. Chronic Adrenal Fatigue had given him a "front row seat".
There is a silver lining to this: I made a vow with the Great Creator: “If I live to cross the finish line, I will write a book to resolve the discrepancy between the glorious athlete and the ordinary human being.”
I kept that vow: I wrote and published “Zendurance, A Spiritual Fitness Guide for Endurance Athletes” as a guide to help us transform endurance training for triathlon into a healthy life practice that makes us happier and more functional as human beings.
Training for a triathlon, it takes a healthy loving family and friends to develop and train a healthy human being into a glorious endurance athlete. Please, don’t lose sight of this!
At age 42, I completed that first Ironman... and two more in the two years after that. However, after 13 years of living in Kona, it was clear I had to leave. I had a mission – to support athletes like you in your pursuit of excellence – in life as well as sport.
Leaving Hawaii was the most painful and heartbreaking experience of my life. When I left, I was experiencing a second bout with Chronic Adrenal Fatigue. I was addicted to training for triathlons! (However, I was also working to complete my book Zendurance, which resolved that addiction.)
What could replace my love for Kona as a world-class athlete’s paradise?
Ironically, it turned out to be a pursuit of cycling technique through indoor cycling on a stationary trainer in the winter sports capital of the world – Lake Placid, NY!
Improve Cycling Technique: Create Your Indoor Cycling Studio
from: "Training for Triathlon: Chronic Adrenal Fatigue"
Zendurance Cycling Home Page