***Disclaimer 2 - This blog revolves around my use of a product for fueling called Vive Shake. There are no affiliate links to Vive, nor am I getting any sponsorship for the use of the product at this time. This is my representation of the product, and is not affiliated with Vive Shake. ***
Note - this is part 3 of a blog series. In Part 1, I used my own personal way-back machine to evaluate how I got to the point where the desire to ride became overwhelmed by my body's demands to rest. Part 2 is my personal explanation on what is happening inside of my body.
The hardest part of dealing with issues is coming to terms with what the issues actually are. Too often we trick ourselves into false beliefs on how things were, creating our own distorted view on history. Things like this blog are important for me, as it gives me insight into what I was really dealing with over time, and a much clearer picture of how things were. As an example, I didn't remember just how much I was dealing with knee issues in 2013, but reading back through my old blog posts helped me to not get as discouraged that it has progressed a bit further. The worst part is that taking the nearly 2 year break on the blog, which coincides with when I've been dealing with this energy issue, gives me a grey area on what my weight and motivations were like.
Almost exactly a month ago I posted up the first two parts to this series. Since then I've been working on a new protocol for fitness and fueling that I'm loving calling "the Vive! protocol". With a lot of awesome help from Wally Bishop of Vive Shake I've gotten a much clearer picture of what is happening, and how I can work to correct it. This process is not an overnight fix, and I realize that. Nothing in life that is worth doing is worth taking shortcuts on, my especially my health. I realize that I have to play the long game, and not look for immediate solutions.
Part 1 of this solution is to fix my nutrition, and make sure I'm fueling appropriately. This means working towards eating right 90% of the time, and allowing for the "fun stuff" every so often. Over the past month it's been a bit of a struggle to work through staying "on protocol", but the best part is that I'm never more than a couple hours from being back on track. I understand that it's a process. I'm basing my daily goals on "the Vive! Plan", available on the Vive Shake website. The process is to eat whole foods every 2-3 hours. My typical day has been as follows:
- Morning - solid breakfast, typically high protein/fat and low carb.
- Mid-Morning - 1 scoop of Vive! Shake (half serving).
- Lunch - real food lunch, often a half salad or similar.
- Mid-Afternoon - 1 scoop of Vive! Shake (half serving).
- Dinner - solid dinner portion. Real foods
- (optional) evening snack - 1 scoop of Vive! or similar
This is a modification of the actual "Vive! Plan" developed by Wally, adjusted to my typical work day. For the first 2 or 3 weeks I was very diligent with it, and I saw a definite improvement in my overall energy levels. Vacation, and it's disruption to my typical daily routine, put a bit of a damper on it, though, and I've seen the energy issues I've had previously creep back in.
Part 2 of the solution revolves around exercise. This part is the hardest for me, because I've always been a "full throttle" personality. If I'm training for an event, I want to train hard and stay to a very aggressive training schedule. Right now I just can't keep to it. I've had to dial back my intensity and frequency, and start recognizing when I've done too much. As an example, last Monday I went and swam for the first time in months first thing in the morning, then convinced myself to go out and ride tempo in the afternoon. To get back to where I'm not completely drained is taking longer than a single "good night sleep". I don't recover normally right now, and I have to take that into account.
Right now my training load is low while I work out what I can and cannot recover from each day. The real struggle is working out how to compensate for the extra calorie output so I can make sure that my body is prepared to recover as well. 2 hours on the bike is going to burn over 1,000 calories; making the banker uneasy about my spending. I need to make sure that I fuel appropriately during and after each session to keep everything in balance. It's something I'm not used to, and takes a fair amount of preparation that I'm not always in the mindset for.
Part 3 is Rest. I've been slowly working on trying to get more sleep each night to help recover. I've noticed that getting to bed an hour earlier makes getting out of bed a bit easier each morning, and I'm not forcing myself to get moving quite as early each day right now as I work on healing. Understanding that the feelings aren't just "in my head" makes a world of difference, too. Forgiving myself for missing a workout (or two) because I feel miserable, especially when I recognize that I overdid it earlier in the week is critical.
I am not claiming that I'm keeping to this protocol perfectly at this point, but I can say that when I keep aligned with it I feel a whole lot better than when I get off course. A lot is going to have to come together this weekend as I do my first serious long-distance training ride for Ride to Remember. We are going to be riding the Day 1 route, and it looks to be the hottest day of the year to date. I'm not expecting to set any land-speed records, and I fear that I'm going to feel pretty miserable the following few days as I finish recovering. I won't get that luxury next month, but this weekend isn't the event. RTR will be a huge tax on my system. I know I'll do well on it, so I don't need to go crazy with rides "preparing" at this point, but rather just keep my body healing and prepared.