Training is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. It often seems my mind taps out before my body does.
It’s too far.
It’s too hard.
I’m too tired.
I have too many other things to do.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a run where at least once, one of these phrases didn’t pop into my mind. The reality is—they’re all true.
Accumulating miles is hard and who doesn’t have 10,000 other priorities on their to-do list that—at times—leaves you longing for an extra fifteen minutes to lay in bed before the day begins?
Sometimes you need to push through the mental warning while other times you need to prioritize the to-do list and training doesn’t always get top billing. I said it. Sometimes the workout has to take the backseat to activities and loves and deadlines that deserve attention too. After all, who’s the boss—you or your training plan?
This week I had a fun 10 mile run with friends that quickly became a grueling five-mile slog—still with friends. I didn’t anticipate adding a bonus leg day at the gym and an early-morning CrossFit WOD (that happened to target the quads) would turn those aforementioned legs into leaden trunks that didn’t want to move. One mile into my training run and my lack of power was apparent. My mind was telling me to tap out--and I did. I completed half the prescribed run and felt no guilt. Rest is important too. Often, it's your best defense against injuries brought on by overtraining.
Bottom line—get a training plan and stick to it. Progress is going to require effort that's often sacrificial and sometimes painful. But use wisdom and assess goals in light of the big picture. You're the boss and sometimes a good, wise and thoughtful boss, let’s everyone go home early. The work will be there tomorrow.
Until next time,
With less than a month to go my training runs are progressing for the upcoming North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon in June. As a brief recap, I started running almost one year ago (as in never, ever ran as an adult prior) and set my sights on completing this particular race because a Sequim to Port Angeles run along the Olympic mountains and ending on the banks of the Strait of Juan de Fuca carried personal significance—and it sounded beautiful.
I didn’t need a year to go from a non-runner to finisher—no one does, so last year I ran both a 12K race near Halloween and my first half marathon at Christmastime.
Then I took a long break.
I kept my runs to about six miles a couple times a week and started CrossFit, the latter my priority. Lifting has always been more fun than running—even though I was getting schooled regularly and lifting the lightest weight in my class. CrossFit is crazy fun and it appeals to me because it’s grueling but not for long. Most WODs (workout-of-the-day) are completed in less than 30 minutes and in that time you bang out pull-ups, handstands, cleans, jerks and presses…talk about thrilling! Contrast that with running—the same activity… for an hour or more…and you can imagine the challenge.
I contemplated passing on the race. After all, I already completed a half-marathon and felt quite secure that running—though awesome, probably wasn’t going to be “my thing.” Not to mention early morning CrossFit workouts followed by endurance running was intimidating. Mostly, I was afraid of the work.
There’s lots of ways to manage fear. I could hide or ignore it. Or better, I could justify it and explain it away. But I didn’t want to manage fear—I wanted to crush it. So I registered for the half and am currently banging out 22 miles per week. Of course I'm still going to CrossFit (those thrusters aren't going to thrust themselves!) and for good measure, I'm still doing my regular workouts at our local Y.
And that’s where I currently find myself. My secret so far is getting enough sleep, meeting nutritional needs with good carbs, healthy fats and quality protein, and while I plan the next day I don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on it. Today has a enough trouble of its own!
I enjoy snacking on Ideal Protein food too. Strawberry Wafers are a great afternoon snack. Ideal Complete is solid meal replacement or recovery drink and the new BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) make a great, fruity drink that helps prevent muscle loss during endurance training.
And now it’s time to stop writing and start running. I’ll check back soon!
Dionne is a certified Ideal Protein coach who lost 25 pounds following the protocol way back when. Since then she's learned to cook healthier meals (and actually eat them), get a daily dose of iron in the form barbells and kettle bells and is usually training to improve her time in an upcoming half marathon.