Good morning! I hope everyone’s Tuesday is off to a wonderful start. I just got back from the gym and am doing some last-minute study abroad prep before heading to work for the afternoon. I’m currently icing my foot while typing this post 🙂
I’ve got a lot on my mind that I want to say after this morning’s gym session (both good and bad!). Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a mental and physical rut with training. Because I took my break early and am not allowed to run yet in order to let my second metatarsal heal, I’m on a slightly different timeline than my teammates. They’re wrapping up their rest week and starting “active rest” and light training, while I’ve been doing that for 3-4 weeks now. At this point in the year, all of our training is pretty much up to us. The whole idea is to keep our bodies moving but fresh, and keep our minds eager and motivated by letting us do what we want when we want to, and take rest when we want to. It’s supposed to be pressure-free and help us gear up for when summer cross country training ramps up.
I’m a creature of routine, so while I can thrive off of this freedom, I am not currently thriving. There’s a little voice in the back of my head that has been constantly telling me things like, “You need to be doing this. You need to be building up the cross training volume, you need to be doing a certain amount every day even though your coach is telling you to keep it relaxed.” This has been exacerbated by the fact that I’m alone- counterintuitively, it’s easier for me to keep an open mind towards training when I’m surrounded by my teammates and coaches. Also when I’m not injured 😉
Another unhealthy facet of what I’ve been doing is that I’ve been focusing on filling some sort of quota every time I train, whether it be minutes, calories, or the like. (“Am I going to reach 400 minutes of cross training this week?”) Then I’ve been super anal about my post-workout snack, the timing of my food, and other things that are good as long as you don’t overthink them. Your body is not a goddamn robot, Kathryn.
The past few days, I’ve been a little sick, which has made me look forward to the cross training even less. But I still biked on the recumbent bike for an hour yesterday. I convinced myself that I felt awesome, which maybe I did during the bike, but afterwards, I felt like crap. I’m having a hard time keeping the long-term in mind– been focusing too much on the daily/hourly/minutely (is that a word), and it’s made me start to dread the stationary bike and the pool. I’m a person that loves weight training because it makes me feel strong and unstoppable…so why have I been only doing boring cardio???
I texted my coach yesterday to essentially tell him I was being a stubborn moron (no surprises there!), and he had a really good response.
“Take some time doing active rest, not structured workouts.” Music to my stubborn ears!!
So this morning, I took his advice to heart. I got to the gym with the intent of doing another 60+ minutes on the infernal stationary bike. However, I got there and had zero interest in doing that, so I made up a dynamic core/strength session as I went along. It felt amazing to get my body moving dynamically (one of the consequences of the boot is that I can’t do anything impactful on my foot, so jumping exercises and even walks are out of the question. I’ve felt antsy and just want to move some fast-twitch muscles!) I continued to steer clear of jumps and too many weight-bearing exercises, but before I knew it, 45 minutes had flown by and my body was buzzing in that endorphin-fueled “I’m going to be incredibly sore tomorrow” state that I love.
Throughout the workout, I was literally dancing during my rest breaks. This workout was the type that reminded me how much I crave the process of getting stronger. Instead of sitting on the stationary bike or doing circles in the deep end of the pool looking at the clock every 15 seconds, I worked my entire body, was never bored, and only did things I wanted to do. It was awesome.
My lesson of the day is to focus on doing the things you love. This might change day to day, but listen to your body and don’t get caught up in the minutiae of training. There are some days where I really do want to get on the bike for 90 minutes or swim a 70-minute workout. Then there are days like today, and yesterday, and the day before…where I just don’t. While my number one love is running, I can’t do that right now, so it’s important to trust myself and figure out how to stay healthy and happy (physically and mentally).
I leave for Spain in two days, which I think will be really good for me in all issues mentioned above. And I get to start the walk-to-run program while I’m there! But perfect training and fueling won’t be my primary focus- my primary focus will be to enjoy Cádiz, soak up all the experiences, conduct my independent research project about the markets, and learn millions of new things.
Have a wonderful day 🙂