Down the Slippery Slope

dangerIt happens to everyone at some point or another. Sometimes family, work and life conspire to derail us from our workout goals. Workout goals? It’s enough if you can feed yourself somewhat healthily, get the bills paid on time, continue to be effective in your career and have the occasional conversation with a loved one.

I know everyone can relate to this. What do you do when you’ve signed up for a big event and still want to race as well as you can?

As you may have noticed, this blog has been on a hiatus for a few months. That’s right. Life conspired and this blog had to be dropped. I’ve realized that over the years, life, work, training all take mental energy. I find that at my busiest, it is hard for me to invest some creative energy towards any extras. It’s galling to realize that no, I can’t do it all. I have to pick and choose and make sure I’m investing my time effectively when there is so much pressure in our time sucking world.

It’s a slippery slope however. Sure you may still be able to get in your workouts with extra strength training and maybe a fun (sanity-inducing) exercise class. Maybe you’ve had to cut back on strength training or not. Stress and lack of sleep however can conspire to hamper recovery from these workouts. Sometimes, it may be best to go into a maintenance mode as not allowing for recovery can lead to burnout and injury.

There are a couple ways to handle this once you have recognized the following warning signs:
Not sleeping well over consecutive days or weeks
Dreading going out for your workout and not feeling better once you have warmed up especially if this happens over consecutive days
Extra aches or pains
Unable to hit training paces or the usual training paces feel extra hard

Take a break! Give yourself permission to take a few days of complete rest and focus on trying to eat and sleep well. Hopefully the extra time in your schedule plus a more focused mindset can help you catch up in life and/or work. If working out is part of what makes you feel sane, then it’s fine to go out for a workout but take it down a notch. Skip a scheduled workout and run or bike easily with no pace goals. Keep it short and lower the intensity to give yourself a chance to recovery. No, you are not being lazy! And no, beating yourself up because you do need a break is also not productive.

It can happen to anyone and at anytime. After crazy hours at work and a fun but hard race, I found that I was just not able to run at a typical pace for me. Each run was slower and slower. Instead of forcing it, I took three days completely off and tried to sleep in AND take a short nap. I got caught up as much as possible with work and home responsibilities. I also ate well even though i was not burning all those extra calories. My body needed the extra fuel. I started sleeping better and overall was more focused and effective when I needed to be. I started back to workouts cautiously and was pleased I felt much better.

It is a slippery slope and you can choose to step away from the edge!

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