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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Breaking out of winter!

 

Tony claiming the podium!

 

Spring has sprung and we have some athletes already doing some great work.

Client Tony demonstrates just what to do when a race isn’t going your way.

“Halfway through the (half marathon) race I saw the 1:30 pacer pass me and thought ok Tony just settle and enjoy.  Consider it a training run.  Then I saw all the other runners running towards the halfway point I had already passed and I decided to root them on as we met.  It was pretty cool.  I found a 10 yr old boy running the 10k and ran with him for about .25 miles and gave him a fist bump, keep it up.  Great job.  I wasn’t going to make my time so I thought I’d try to rally the other runners to do their best.  This was a really great run.  I didn’t expect to get first and to date I don’t even know my time.  I didn’t look for it.  I just ran and it was awesome.”

For the record Tony ended up placing first in his age group. Sometimes reminding yourself that it is a privilege to be out running a race can help turn a tougher event into a positive experience. Way to go Tony! And we are pleased to hear that this past weekend, Tony finished 1st overall today at the 10K Train run. WOW! Congrats Tony!

Client John completed his first marathon this past weekend at the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon. If you don’t know about this marathon, it is a very challenging marathon course meant to honor a special group of WWII veterans. With his first marathon, he rose to the challenges of altitude, sand (!) and the unknown distance to finish strongly.

“It went well. It was a tough course.  Big climbs, deep sand, and rolling hills. Great atmosphere, scenery and history with this race. Miles 1-20 were great. My legs started feeling it at mile 21. I pushed the last 5 miles, they were not fun, but made it.  My chip time was 4:04.  I think unofficial it was 6th for the old guy group (aka 40-49) and 21st overall.  Very happy with that for first 26.2 mile race.  Thanks for everything.  Couldn’t have done it with out you.”

Congratulations John! that is a huge accomplishment for a very first marathon. We can’t wait to see what you do next.

 

 

Tony –

Checking In! Sticking with your Goals

Can you believe that January has already come and gone? We are already 1/12th of the way into 2015 and its time to take a look at all the goals you made for the new year. Are you on track? Have you had a hard time getting your goals off the ground? Remember change doesn’t happen over night and progress is slow. If one of the goals you took on involves changing long held habits, it will take many many repetitions of the new positive behavior to win out over those stubborn old habits. And that doesn’t even speak for the times when you are stressed and fall to those old behaviors more readily. Have you noticed yourself getting into a mental war about trying to get workout in or trying to walk away from that coffee you so desperately want but swore off? All the time you spending mentally fighting wears you out in other ways also and makes it easier to give in the want to watch TV after work or get that morning latte. So what can be done about that? Create new habits – patterns you can follow without thinking about it! Have you ever found yourself in any of the following scenarios?

I don’t have time to get my whole workout in. 

It’s not all or bust. If you can’t get your whole workout in get in what you can. Some exercise is better than no exercise. If you stick with it, pretty soon you will find yourself missing how good you feel afterwards. You can also try splitting your workouts on days when you are running short on time. Can you get half a run in in the morning or 30 minutes of your 1 hour spin? Then snag the rest afterwork. Can you drop the kids at soccer practice and run laps around the field? At the risk of the being the most uncool mom ever you will feel pretty good about yourself for making it work. Think about a lunch time work out also! Even if you can’t get a run in pack your shoes and go for a walk at lunch.

I stuck to my goal yesterday so I don’t need to today. 

That bad little voice that gives you a cheat day one too many times during the week is speaking up again. The more days you skip that workout or allow an old behavior the sooner you will just allow for it all the time. Be Consistent! A good training plan has built in rest days. You know ahead of time they are coming so just get through one workout one day at a time, the rest day will be like a little reward at the end. Every time you stick to the plan your are building stronger and stronger mental connections to your new habit. Eventually the new connections will override the old ones. If you can try to exercise at a similar time each day. This way it just becomes part of your daily routine. It also allows you to figure out good eating patterns to be well fueled pre and post your workout.

Its dark, cold, wet, or Monday, I don’t want to workout today. 

Using the conditions (yes we feel that Monday is a condition) as an excuse to skip your workout? Find a buddy to workout with, we promise it will keep you accountable. Who wants to be the one that bags out of a run because its raining? Think up a nice treat for yourself when you get back home. An extra long extra hot shower can often keep you moving on a cold wet day. Put your workout clothes out the night before and your shoes by the door. Don’t let it be out of sight out of mind. Its a bit like heckling yourself from the sidelines…your clothes are just screaming really? really? you’re going to walk past us? And if you do then the shoes will chime in too? Tell your significant other what your workout plan is for the next day. If you can’t hold yourself to it, sometimes just the thought of having to tell someone else you bailed is enough to squash the idea. Make a special playlist just for bad weather days…like a little musical treat for braving the weather. (Just remember to only wear head phones at a low volume, in well light, well populated areas, with minimal traffic…Be safe out there.)

I don’t have time to cook a good meal – I’ll just eat what I can find at work. 

If you aren’t eating well all that exercising will not do your body justice. You will find yourself feeling run down and sluggish which is hugely discouraging when you have been sticking to your schedule and it seems to be getting harder. Check your eating! Are you eating enough? Are you eating the right balance? One of the best tricks our team uses is to cook as much as possible for the whole week on Sunday. If you think about all 3 meals for the whole week and pre-plan and prep as much as you can it takes the thinking out of eating during the week. You have lots of good options that keep you from the 3pm office troll for what always turn out to be bad snacks or the drive through stop on the way home. Its also a great idea to keep a snack pack at work…keep things like nuts, dried fruit, cut up fruits or veggies, yogurt in a spare lunch box in the office fridge. This way when your meetings run long or your day changes you are never without a good healthy snack to keep you going. Try making smoothies too for times when you need a meal on the go but never skip eating! It is so important to treat your body right and feed it!

I’m too tired to workout today. 

Getting enough sleep is paramount to reaching goals. You have to be well rested to tackle big behavioral changes and grow your physical fitness. Learn to gauge that feeling of being too tired, if you have been dragging all week and getting 4 hours of sleep a night, it may be time to take an extra day off and say today my focus is letting my body rest. Our bodies do a lot repair work and metabolizing with our sleep cycles. The more you can get into the habit of getting quality sleep each night the less stressed your body will be mentally and physically. Make your bedroom a no technology zone. Leave the TV, laptop, Kindle, cell phone, tablet, gameboy (throwback!) out of the bedroom. Let that space be your sanctuary for sleeping, cuddling and good good lovin’. Treat yourself to a good new pillow or special blanket and make a commitment to getting to bed.

Tackling new goals is hard work whether your just starting out or striving to reach the next level in your training. Its takes time, dedication and a whole lot of believing in yourself. No one is perfect and life is rarely ever optimal to accommodate our training schedules. Don’t beat yourself up when it doesn’t go your way. Always always always feel good about what you have done and take each new day as a clean slate to start entirely new.

Maybe the goal you started with isn’t the one you’ll end up with but in the words of the Heath brothers “When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there. Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.”.

SkiGirl: Saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015!

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is drawing to a close, only a few short hours to go! 2014 was a mixed bag for me…it had some big accomplishments and some big disappointments. The good news is the lessons learned will serve me well as we roll into 2015 and on into 2016!

As I look back at the past year it is hard not to be proud of everything that I accomplished, disappointments and all. I can honestly say I swam, biked and ran more miles this past year than any other time in my life! It all seems a bit surreal and at times feels like it was all a dream…the good news for me is it was real and I am in a good place going forward. The hardest decision for me coming into 2015 was to hold off on making another run at getting that IM finish. It was something that I agonized over and after talking with Coach we decided that 2016 would be an optimal time to make that run. The decision allows me to train hard in 2015 and gives me time to some big changes mentally and physically!

2015 is a transition year for me and one that will require a lot of dedication and commitment. I have some lofty goals that will serve as building blocks as we move toward another IM. Most of the year will be focused on making big gains running and swimming. Mostly running, however! Lots of miles will be logged this year – 2 half marathons, 1 trail half and 1 full marathon! I would expect the season will also include 1 Olympic distance tri, maybe a long-course tri, hopefully a return to RAPSody and lots of swimming.

2015 will see a return to being a volunteer ski patroller and instructor up at Summit West – assuming we get some snow! So, come up, join me, play and get in a decent workout while you are at it!

It’s hard to look back at 2014 with mixed feelings. It wasn’t a bad year; it just wasn’t the year I had planned. It is with great anticipation and excitement that I look forward to 2015. There are no guarantees that things will go smoothly or as expected; however, I do anticipate learning lots, having fun and rolling with whatever life brings!

I will wrap this up with one of my favorite quotes –

“Dreams don’t happen because we dream them…they happen because we do something about them.”

Find your dream and do something about it! Here’s to an amazing and wonderful 2015!

-SkiGirl

Perspective Monday

 

“I have twice tried to cycle my way to the Olympics and did not succeed on either attempt. And yet, I refuse to use the word “fail.” Not reaching a goal is one thing, but to attach failure to it would take away all I did achieve along the way. From seeing the world to meeting incredible competitors to improving as an athlete, I have only gained, not lost. To “fail” at any anything means one must first try something, so technically the failure cannot exist without trying; and if there is effort, then perhaps there is no such thing as failure.”

Katherine Bertine