I have been with SUF for over 2 years now. I have made a lot of gains and met a lot of goals. I did my first century back in 2019. I also met my goal of doing an Olympic Distance tri in under 3 hours in the same year. I have no endurance sport background. I was however a college baseball player.
I had an accident in my last triathlon about a month ago. It probably was my best race to date. I was closing in to the front pack on the bike section (SUF gains!) which is when I crashed and tore my AC joint in my shoulder. In the scheme of things, I was pretty unharmed considering I was going down a hill at well over 20mph(32 kph). Now I will need surgery and a long recovery process.
In the past few weeks I have noticed that despite not training I am in a better mood to which my wife agrees. I look back and think wow training was stressing me out. Now that I have more time I am able to see how I want to change things going forward. Just wondering if any of you have experienced the same issues.
Before I started cycling and triathlon all did was lift weights, kettlebells, and run on occasion. My first year of triathlon was more my wife and I going on adventures to random places and ride bikes and swim. The outcome didn’t matter.
I feel as if the last couple of years all of the sudden it became a chore and not something fun. It is also part of my personality. Now, I am not sure if I am more afraid of crashing again or becoming so obsessed with training that I forget to enjoy myself.
How can I get back to training and it not be overbearing and also how to overcome my fear of crashing again?
Also, I am not hating on SUF. I love the app and the community around it!
I think you kind of answered the question yourself. I find it, like most things in life, to be a delicate balance. On one hand you want to be stronger, faster, more competitive. On the other hand you want to enjoy your life and “win” at other games in life. Can’t have both. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Going too far in either direction is a problem. So I’d say look for some middle ground. Maybe that’s 3 or 4 days of training a week. Or maybe it’s 1-2 structured/hard rides and the rest is fun. Ultimately you’ll have to find that balance based on your life and goals. Start slow, ease back into things, have fun, start to dial up the volume/intensity when it feels right. Don’t be afraid to take more recovery days. There’s some great posts on here about the importance of recovery. Good luck!
that seems to be the way to say the least. I guess there are different seasons in life and I have to adapt to it and keep that balance.
I’m not a medical person but…I would say that after damaging your shoulder getting that back to full strength will require a fair bit of patience and focused rehab/fysio. That in itself might be enough to start with.
Then when that feels ok you could perhaps add a favourite Suff session now and again - just to enjoy. And maybe get back to having adventures (however small and limited by your shoulder, pandemics etc) with your wife.
Once you’re fit I think following a plan towards a clear goal might help you not appear overbearing but the fear of crashing thing might take a while. I’ve found that as you get older you tend to get a little more fearful so maybe the fear will always be there - but you can learn to steer it?
Above all be kind to yourself - you and your family will thank you for that! /Liz
Thank you for the response. I hate to post stuff like this just didn’t other people’s experience lol.
It seems like things like this don’t really have an answer. The answer just comes with time.
My physio sessions are becoming something I look forward and I will finally have time to help my wife with her cycling goals. So I think is best in the long run. I’m no longer competing for scholarships or contracts so chilling out and enjoying life should be my priority.
I’m not going to comment on how to balance your training as that is a heavily personal thing.
How to get over the fear of crashing, though? That’s something I can understand and really the only way is to get back into riding.
I’ve not had it in cycling, but I had a big injury playing football, completely tore out both cruciate ligaments in one leg.
At the time I did it I actually managed to get back up and carry on playing on adrenaline alone. After I had been seen by a doctor I was told it required surgery, but that there would be a wait. I carried on playing football without cruciate ligaments and dislocated my knee a number of times, psychologically it didn’t bother me at all, it was already knackered and it was going to be repaired…
After the operation, though? That was when I suddenly had a fear of going back onto a football pitch. Previously, playing on the injured knee, I wasn’t scared at all. There wasn’t much more damage I could do and it wasn’t the pain I was scared of. For me it was the fear of repeating the damage and not being able to play to the level I wanted.
It took a long time to get over, but the only way was to keep going back out onto the pitch, keep pushing yourself that little bit harder and realise it wasn’t hurting. I had to remind myself I’d played hundreds upon hundreds of games without injury and that the probability was I wasn’t going to do it again.
It is, for the most part, in your head and the only solution is to get back on the bike and get your confidence back.
That might be how you balance the training for now too. Forget about it, start cycling just for fun, you’re less likely to crash and just get back the love of being on the bike, enjoy it.
Regarding the first part about how to make training not be overbearing, i think the bad news is that it’s complicated and what works on Day 1 may not work on Day 180. For example, you feel great not training right now, but you may find that you miss the reward structure associated with training. After all, there was a reason you were doing it! But i think that’s also the good news, because it means you don’t have to have one and only “balance” that you apply all the time. You can train very hard, try to perform well at events, and then, when you feel like you’re not enjoying it anymore . . . take a break. It’s sort of like changing seasons–skiing is fun but it’d be pretty weak sauce if it was winter all the time. So i think the takeaway is, it’s not like a math problem where you have to find the one answer, you just have to check in with yourself more regularly and be willing to make changes where needed.
on the crash stuff, yes i agree getting back on the bike will be important but visualization can be a powerful tool as well. Like if you get back on the bike and find that going down hills stresses you, well, when you’re not on the bike, spend some time each morning removing distractions, closing your eyes, and visualizing yourself descending a bike and picture it going well. If get scared and envision crashing–take a (mental) step back, reset yourself, and do it again.
It’s an interesting one, and something I have experienced myself several times. I would say focus on keeping the training fun, everything should be about enjoyment, and maybe reassessing why you are doing the sport and why you are training might help. It could be you knock back the training a bit, or also take part in more sports/hobbies outside of cycling to enforce your identity as more than an athlete. Training and competition should be all about fun and enjoying yourself, and having periods like this can be difficult. But working out a solution that makes you happiest in life will always be the right solution
I had a friend who was a competitive triathlete for a time. He once told me about balance and said:
Triathlon training, Work, Friends&family: Pick two.