Bird Stream

Entrepreneurship, development and (sometimes) cycling, often simultaneously, mainly in Nottingham

Knackered Mamil Syndrome

Competitive cycling is a demanding mistress. Couple that with a career and a family and you have a recipe for doing some serious damage to yourself.

I sit here after two months of enforced cycling lay-off through being repeatedly ill and am forced to reflect on what went wrong. Blood tests show me to be in super shape but I still can’t do any exercise without developing some kind of illness. Sore throat, aching, headaches, etc, etc. The conclusion that my doctor has come to is that I’ve trained and worked myself into the ground. I’m just knackered. Unable to fight off the day to day infections we never normally notice.

I have a hard and demanding job and a wonderful, but demanding family (in a good way, obviously). Training happens in the early hours before the the rest of the family stir. Sleep and rest are something that fits in around everything else and generally I try and get away with the minimum.

My job also involves some long-haul travel and I have seen it as a fantastic opportunity to get some training in. Last time I was in San Francisco, I embraced the jet-lag so it was easy to get up for training at 5am, get 3 hours of hard miles in before spending the day working. Invariably catching up on emails from the UK before going to bed later than I should. Being away from the family though meant my time was my own and thus it was an opportunity to train, not to be missed.

Crashing in the Alps probably didn’t help either but however much I try and rationalise it all and be pragmatic I can’t help feeling I’m sitting here watching another season drift by with nothing to show for it. And that hurts, a lot.

I’m currently the right side of 40 but not by much and with coming to cycling late I’m desperate to maximise my achievements. Being driven helps me train hard but this has shown me that I need to actually act on all that advice that says rest is a key component of training. Being driven and dumb and is no use to anyone.

So next year is a new approach. Train hard, absolutely, but only when I feel up for it. Move rest and recovery to number 3 in the priority list, after family and work, and see what results materialise.