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Sometimes It's OK to Ditch the Garmin

Triathletes, by nature, are data enthusiasts. We thrive on tracking and analyzing every metric in apps like Training Peaks, Strava, Garmin Connect, Final Surge, and Zwift, among others. It's completely okay to geek out on data; however, there's something undeniably healthy about taking a few days off from the pursuit of endless data. Here's why:

Most of us ventured into multisport training because we cherish the physical and mental rewards it brings. We love being outdoors, swimming, cycling, and running. Beyond the thrill of racing and competition, what about savoring the joy of working out because you love it? I’m talking about ridding yourself of the confines of Zone 3 targets, personal records, or weekly mileage. Remember, you embarked on this journey because you genuinely enjoy it. Some days, it's freeing to go out for a long ride without worrying about speed, pacing, or HR zones. What if you cycled purely for the love of the sport, free from any performance metrics?

One compelling reason to ditch your Garmin for a day or two is if you suspect overtraining. Think of it as a data detox — a chance to clear your mind of metrics. If you're feeling fatigued, uninspired, sporting a higher morning resting heart rate, and your recovery isn't as quick as usual, overtraining may be creeping in. It's perfectly fine to take a step back, stash the Garmin in the kitchen drawer, and head out for a run purely because you love the way it feels. Forget about the data, the pace, the miles per hour, the Training Stress Score, and all the rest. Just run and savor that precious hour for yourself.

Another time when you may want to ditch the Garmin is if you are coming off a long hiatus from no training. Maybe you had Covid or the flu. Maybe you’ve been traveling for several weeks without a break. Life happens to us and sometimes throws a wrench in our training. I don’t see any point in slapping on the Garmin after 6 weeks of zero swimming then being disappointed when your pace per 100 is several seconds slower than it was in the summer. Don’t let it mess with your head like that. It’s perfectly fine to ease back into training for a day or two without worrying about numbers.

As a coach I am literally looking at athlete data all day long. I can’t really help folks without knowing their daily workout data. But I do understand if an athlete needs a mental break for a day or two without the pressures of training metrics.

We do our sports because we love and enjoy them. Many of you are fueled by competition and trust me, I get that. But you won’t find any resistance from me if you tell me once in a while, “Hey Coach, I need a couple of days without the Garmin.” It just might be the ideal way to rejuvenate and reset your mind and body.

Have you thought about hiring a coach for your next iron distance event? Click the purple button below and fill out the contact form for a free 15 minute chat with Mary about your race goals!

Mary Timoney

Ironman Certified Coach

USA Cycling Coach

ACSM Trainer


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