Ugh. What a week. It's been a really strange one! My mojo all but deserted me for the first few days of this week. I put it down to being a bit over it and in need of a holiday because everything was an effort. I felt broken, sore and uninspired. Normally you can't shut me up and word counts mean nothing to me (they're just a suggestion!) but for the last few days words just wouldn't come. Being in front of a computer screen or a printed page made my head hurt. All I wanted to do was sleep.
Ordinarily when I feel like this I get furious with myself. What do you mean you're not motivated? You've got half marathons to run! You're running out of time! Stop being so lazy! is normally what my inner critic starts shouting and then that just goes around and around in my head until the inertia finally seeps into my bones and I have no choice but to stop dead and have wasted a week floating around feeling tired and useless in the meantime.
This time I tried to do something different. I just sat with it. I didn't force myself to write blog posts or pitches I wasn't in the mood to write. I didn't beat myself up if I just did a short run rather than the long one I planned. I just tried to give myself what I needed. I let myself sleep in one morning instead of getting up to get my run out of the way like I usually would. I did lots of yoga. I ran myself a bath and put lavender oil in it to help my sore muscles relax - and I didn't take anything to read into the bath like I usually would, I made myself just lie there. I gave myself a foot massage. I allowed myself just sit and read my book instead of worrying about the millions of things I should be doing instead.
And today I woke up and felt fabulous - like something that had been physically missing for a few days had returned - and have had an amazingly productive day! Who would have thought that just letting yourself be a bit glum and moody and unproductive but trying to do kind, helpful things for yourself in the meantime for a while would help? I think we could all do with being a bit easier on ourselves sometimes. The world really won't end if we just take some time out. And I think my big thing is realising that I am not a bad person or an unlikeable person or an unsuccessful person if I feel sad/overwhelmed/angry/unmotivated sometimes and admit it. Nobody is infallible. You can't be brilliant every day and every day can't be brilliant, as my mate Martin Yelling said. Doing what you know you need to do is easy when you're motivated. Doing what you know you need to do when you aren't all that motivated is where the real results happen!
Anyway, I didn't want this to be a downer post - I just wanted to be honest and let you guys know that I don't have an unlimited supply of motivation, I do have my low days - sometimes a string of them all together! And despite my rather lacklustre and unmotivated week, I think I still did ok :)
The road runs have been excellent and I have been really noticing that I'm faster on the second half of a big run, which is a huge improvement. I did 10k on Sunday on the roads and the first 5k was shocking - so shocking I almost turned around and went home! But then some kind of magic kicked in around 6k and the rest of the run was great, apart from pulling my right shoulder. I have been trying not to drink as much on my runs (after last week's needing to pop in to the pub to use the loo!) so I carried a full drink bottle most of the run, which was surprisingly heavy and weighed my right wrist down a lot. Eventually I had to switch it to the left hand because the shoulder was playing up. Some stretches helped and I managed to get home in one piece! Since then I've done heaps of yoga and been careful not to move suddenly and it's been fine.
Interval training continues to go well. I did a short run with some strides and knee lifts yesterday. I am so much faster with the strides, which I think is down to both the increased fitness thanks to the trail training and more awareness of my arm movements after observing the Olympic athletes! Knee lifts were a bit tough but I really need to work at getting my legs higher to increase speed.
Trail running is still great fun - today was in the rain and I was there at 8am so I had the entire parkland to myself! I nearly fell over about ten times because of the mud but my newly activated core strength helped keep me upright. I noticed I was about 60 seconds faster at the halfway point....was it the slipping and sliding, who knows? I really love running in the rain. And the hills were a lot easier this week too, thanks to reader Em's wonderful tip - she advised that instead of looking at the top of the hill, only look at the horizon. It really has made a difference!
The only thing I'm concerned about with the trail runs at this stage is how bloody slow I am! I concentrate on rhythm and try to watch where I'm going which admittedly slows me down a little but according to my tracker if I run like this in the race I'll be lucky if I do a half marathon in three hours! Admittedly the GPS drops out a lot while I'm up on the trails so that's some comfort. And my time for 5k on the roads is what I was doing when I was training for the marathon, and yet according to the app on my phone I'm covering about 8k in an hour on the trails. It's bugging me and even though I'm seeing some improvements in my times and fitness on the trails I'm not sure what to do.
Core and strength training is an area where I've noticed a huge improvement. Not only did I avoid the mud of doom on the trail run today (!) but it's taking longer for the burn to set in with my usual set of tricep dips! I also did the "Fire" practice of my Shiva Rea DVD (the hardcore one!) and in the prostration push-up sequences I used to only manage about 6 - now I'm doing 10! Overall I feel very strong and more toned than I did a few weeks ago.
The yoga poses I'm most enjoying at the moment are Bow and Pigeon, and anything that stretches the hips!
|Bow pose, courtesy of Yoga Journal|
I'm also noticing the benefits of my eating plan which admittedly has not been stuck to quite as strictly this week (!) but avoiding sugar where possible and trying to eat clean and get my body into fat burning mode seems to be having the desired effect. All my clothes feel looser. My jeans fit better than they have for ages! But training your body to burn what you already have stored is a lot harder than fuelling yourself up before a run and just burning that off. When you're burning off fat rather than sugar on a 10k run it really does burn! For those who are curious this is a typical day on plan:
|Breakfast (well brunch!) on Sunday|
Before training: Water and, if it's cold, a cup of tea
Breakfast: Gluten free porridge with yoghurt and fruit or two eggs with mushrooms, spinach, baked beans and gluten free toast or smoothie made with protein recovery powder, fresh fruit and soy milk + coffee with soy milk
Snack (if wanted): Fruit (usually grapes or an apple) or a chia seed bar or yoghurt or rice cakes
Lunch: Baked sweet potato with hummus and salad or lentil and vegetable soup with gluten free toast or pasta and vegetables or eggs if I didn't have them for breakfast + green tea
Dinner: Small portion of stir-fried tofu and vegetables or soup or veggie burger and salad
Snack: Herbal tea and fruit
On Fridays and Sundays we usually have a drink, so I'll let myself have a beer or some wine on those evenings. I also let myself have some sweet treats on Sundays. It's not all that different to how I try to eat anyway - I've just been mindful of portion sizes and not allowing myself to load up on a second helping just because I'm training. It seems to be working!
Now that I've written it all down, my week hasn't been all that bad! I think it's just been keeping on top of my low moods that has been the challenge. A change of scene will do me the world of good and I'm so, so happy that Tom and I are having a little holiday soon, it really can't have come at a better time. But with now only 3 weeks until the trail half marathon (gulp!) I'll still be training (like I did on our honeymoon!!) so there'll be another training diary to regale you with soon :D
Hope you're having a lovely week and stay tuned for a FAB give-away tomorrow!! xx