It is winter and in a way I am training but at the same time is it far from what I generally consider winter-training. My blog-posting rate can often be an indicator of how it is going because it means there is some event to write about, be it positive or negative. Right now though, the event is not really clear. Since officially kicking off my winter-training on the first of November my body has never really felt right while training. Leaving me stuck with easy training sessions, a feeling of uncertainty and not to mention growing pessimism about the next season.
Processing EOC, as I have written in my last post, was not easy but I came to the conclusion that I still have a lot of motivation and determination in me to continue pursuing my goals and dreams. I also strongly enjoy training itself as well as everything else what is elite-orienteering, the traveling, the people, the racing, you name it, so continuing this path seemed like the right choice. Maybe not the ‘no-brainer’ like the last years but still heavily leaning on the ‘go-for-it’ side. Nothing has really changed on that end the past weeks but my original post title was supposed to be “Another One” so coming to the big ‘however’ in the room and the reason the title now is what it is.
I started wintertraining and from the start on it didn´t feel right. Easy runs felt heavier than expected and my heartrate was a bit higher than usual but I was coming from a period of rest so I wasn´t thinking much about it. I decided to take it easy and skip the first intenser sessions, however, it did not get better (and hasn´t really since), as a result my coach and I decided to only train easy till we know more. I scheduled a medical sports-test but following the streak of bad-luck this year I got sick few days before the test and after that I couldn´t so easily get another appointment because of the upcoming winter holidays. Already in late October I had my blood tested for general blood-levels/indicators, just a regular check I do, and there was nothing special showing. In late December I tested for Lyme disease which was negative as well. In early January 2024 I went to a cardiologist for a echocardiography where she told my that my heart seemed completely fine. She recommended, however, to wait with training till I did a sports test and someone has looked at my data under the stress of exercise. I am being especially careful, since reading about Johan Runesson’s heart surgery/issues.
But by this point I had decided to already take a break from training for 2-4 weeks anyway. On the last day of 2023 I ran for 40′ easy on flat forest paths and I just didn´t feel great, then seeing the slow pace with that heartrate was just enough at that point. I try to be optimistic and calm the past weeks and I still try but I couldn´t take it anymore. Training is about replenishing mental energy but the past sessions have been just draining me mentally.
The strange part of it all is simply that so far I couldn´t make out any specific ‘event’ where I could pinpoint the issues down to. Till EOC training went well, everything seemed basically fine at EOC as well and after that I had a training break but I was never knowingly sick. I was sick in the beginning of December but I already had the problems by then. The weird thing is simply that I am feeling generally quite well. My sleep is normal, my sleep-tracker (Oura) shows nothing unusual as far as I can tell and I feel fine in everyday activities. It is only when I start exercising that things do not feel like I am used to and my HR gets to easily up.
The cardiologist also said that it could have very well been some kind of infection I had didn´t really notice, and that it might take a few weeks (more even months) of resting till the body feels normal again.
I started 2023 with really good wintertraining but the season went downhill, now I started 2024 with bad wintertraining so the season will go uphill?? – always stay optimistic, you know.
I will try to write about more positive stuff in the second half of this post, mainly about my third/original idea for a post “Thinking Longterm”.
As written above, my motivation is still high but I also need to stay realistic what I can achieve with my current possibilities and limitations. The dream of training (as) professionally (as possible) has not faded away since I thought that I could do that back in 2017/18. It is one of those dreams I have which on its own is not even directly connected to also achieving high goals but more about the journey and dedication of being a pro-athlete. Giving and optimizing everything for the goal of maximal sporting success.
This year I am still busy with my Master studies but towards the end of the year I will be more flexible again and at that point I am planning to transition into training like semi-pro-athlete. I am planning to move back somewhere in the direction of North where there is more forest and more orienteering. The plan is to find a at least semi-remote job on a 50-80% basis which I think shouldn´t be the most difficult as a computer scientist.
As said before I am planning to going for it not just with sporting-goals in mind but also for the process. I want to end my career knowing that I at least for some time tried to the best of my abilities to achieve my goals. If it doesn´t work out so be it but I hate ‘giving up’ before even trying.
Ending with an ‘old segment’ I used to sometimes add to my post:
What to watch
Bojan, Anselm and my season in review with a short outlook towards the 2024 season.
Actually, I watched this before every EOC race last October.
Photo Credits: own, AEF
Title photo: Found some proper snow levels in Latvia