physical exhaustion--tears?!


Hi guys, I am NOT a fitness person, but have recently started an intense physical training programme to do an iron man challenge. I was training the other day with a friend who is a personal trainer, and I was so exhausted I was just crying my eyes out! Is this normal?? Can anyone who has done something physically challenging sympethise? I am in my 2nd year of my phd now and i actually find physical stress so much more traumatic than mental! I am doing this challenge to raise money for a close friend who died recently and I am scared that i actually don't have it in me!


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I'm not exactly a fitness fanatic. Could it be low blood sugar? causing you to go 'all emotional'. Maybe you should try eating a few jaffa cakes (I heard they're supposed to be good enery food before exercise) beforehand?


I get you. I did a five day trek in Peru for charity and we had a problem on the last day which meant me and my bf (at the time, hubbie now - it was a v bonding experience...) had to basically leg it up a mountain at altitude to catch the rest of our group up. I made it, although it nearly killed me, and I just burst into tears when I saw the group and pretty much didn't stop all day. Had to wear sunglasses in all pics of me at Machu Picchu! Exhaustion can be very draining...

Your motivation is a fabulous one and I'm pretty sure that if you focus on that at the hard times, you'll keep going and be soooo proud of yourself when you've done it. Good luck!


======= Date Modified 03 Nov 2010 15:38:16 =======
Anyway I can sympathise with feeling down and teary when very tired. That said you mention that you are not a fitness person, and you have recently started this intense exercise it possible you are doing too much too soon, or that you are now overtraining and not getting enough recovery time or eating enough, or the right foods to recover?

I was also wondering why ironman as opposed to other challenges? (not suggesting you shouldn't do it, just wondering what drew you to that specifically) I /only/ managed a marathon during my PhD, though I have vague plans to get into tris and do an ironman at some point in the future, but I don't feel I have the time or inclination to train for one right now. I am very impressed with you for doing it.

I don't know what other forums you use but i also look at they have a trathlon forum where lots of people do ironmans (ironmen?!) and may be able to give help and advice should you want any.

Good luck with the challenge


======= Date Modified 03 Nov 2010 15:36:31 =======
Sugar. Just wrote reply and deleted it. Hope I can remember the gist....

and apparently it was there all along!


Hey Maria! Sounds like maybe you need to take things a bit more slowly! I exercise quite hard every day (although not to iron-man levels!) and it takes a while to build up your strength and stamina, so you may be trying to exercise beyond what you are really physically capable of. It's important not to push yourself too hard- I have a personal trainer who works me hard but tells me off for doing too much training and at too high an intensity and makes me take a rest day now and again to recover. You can do your body a lot of damage if you overdo things. So maybe you could sit down with a trainer and draw yourself up a realistic, achievable fitness plan that you can follow. Perhaps you are also putting a lot of pressure on yourself because you want to succeed, so try not to be hard on yourself as well. I'm not sure I have ever been in tears purely as a result of physical exertion (except maybe the odd kickboxing fight!) but certainly a combination of physical and mental exhaustion could probably do that to you! Anyway, good on you for taking up the challenge and good luck with it! KB


Hi Maria.

I did an IM a few years ago.. and its similarities to doing a PhD are uncanny .. just substitute mental for physical and you are there. It is something else.

Its all about the long game.  I would recommend 'Going Long' by Joe Friel.. its what i used for my training programme. To summarise hugely, its not about intensity and so if you're being pushed to the max at this stage i would suggest you need to concentrate on ( pardon the pun) but going longer rather than harder. You will do sessions of short-ish and sharp-ish .. a few 10ks, bike time trial are really useful but its building stamina and mental strength you need.  

Joe's training plan would be based on hours per week... mixing the 3 disciplines but concentrating on long bikes,  medium runs and relatively shorter swims (1.15 hrs in training is enough)

So in hours per week i did something like 12,14,16,10 then 13,15,17,10 then 14,16,18,10 then 15,17,19,10 and so on.. get the pattern.  then for the last two week taper i did 12,10,8,6 then last week was 6,4,2 ... aaaahh IM.   this last taper reminds me of how you must feel post submission - you worry you've "lost" everything and that all your training was not hard enough etc.


... continued..

I did my IM when i was working full time,  trained mornings but mostly evenings and certainly the weekends were a whirl of lycra.   you will get to fit to drop stage but you really shouldn't feel so bad at this stage.

If you can get a heart rate monitor they are fab, and your bestest friend.. you will know exactly how hard to push.. and you'd be surprised how often you need to hold back rather than push harder.

Join a tri  club if you can... that camaraderie is invaluable,  cycle clubs are also keen to show a triathlete how its done ... had a forum, much like this one which was really good. i've just had a look and its changed its look since i was fit  :$

It is a tough training regime but its more mental .. and to be honest the fact that you pushed yourself to the point that you were crying is, odd as it may seem, a very good sign.  you definitely have it in you!

All the very best as i said earlier it is something else... the day is / was just.. well words fail.. i'm getting all wobbly just thinking about it.   

Regards, Chuff