Newton’s First Law of Motion as Applied to Ironman Training

By: Dr. Dawn

I quote Newton’s First Law of Motion on a regular basis. Most of you may know it as “A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion.” This is a loose paraphrasing of the actual physics.

Two weeks ago was the first time that I let Newton get the best of me while recovering from an upper respiratory condition. I was still a bit fatigued after fighting off an illness for several days. My training was non-existent, and I already resigned myself to the fact that I would not be racing Malibu International Triathlon on September 15. But I was beginning to wonder if I really wasn’t ready to return to training or just having a difficult time overcoming the inertia of a forced rest. So I decided to be quite smart – NOT! – about the whole thing and demand a forced return to training with a one hour steady state power interval treadmill run. That, I hypothesized, would determine whether it was Newton’s First Law or a real continued illness-induced fatigue. 25 minutes into the run I became clammy, sweaty, chilled, and nauseous. I lasted another 10 minutes trying to push past the discomfort (HTFU – right?) then finally relented. Two hours after the run, my left knee started a conversation with me that was quite unpleasant.

“It will go away… I can’t be injured… I didn’t do anything!” Well, what I did was push too hard, too fast, too far and my knee let me know it. Today, my knee remains unhappy although happier than it was. I am training with a much reduced intensity and kicking myself for doing exactly what I advise other athletes not to do. My impatience got the best of me and now I’m paying for it.

Good to remember this!

Hopefully, all will be well soon. I have an Ironman to train for! 23 weeks (5 months sounds better) but who’s counting?!?

Easy coastal ride with great friends on a beautiful day!


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