Bit of trust, bit of patience & a whole lot of love

My regular readers know that I now have a coach and with this comes a facebook and strava page. There is a bunch of us all training for a marathon with the same coach – about 100 I think. It makes for a busy and interesting facebook group.

Not only that but we are all undertaking a Heart Rate Training plan. This means running slow to run fast. But that’s not all! Maybe not a set of steak knives, but there are plenty of other bonuses to having our coach and HRT plan. There are super short strength circuits to do, bosu work and using bands to improve hip strength. On top of that, amazing nutrition advice and weekly podcasts on EVERYTHING. This is the kind of training program that changes your life.

I am at week 10 of a 20 week plan and have hit the mid-plan blues. Seems there are many of us that are feeling a little sense of tiredness and being a little disheartened. All part of the process I am sure.

In response to a long thread on a facebook post I decided that at this stage of a training cycle it is all about having three things.

  1. Trust in the process,
  2. Patience in your development, and
  3. Feeling the love.

Love of running, love for your community and the love of your coach. And she always tells us that we are #coachedandloved.

Question is, what am I going to do to get my motivation and energy back? What do you do in these circumstances?

Amazing bodies

Our bodies are truly amazing and completely confusing. I have been undertaking a detox in order to rectify a small health issue that I have and as a result I am struggling to run. Hence the lack of blogging of late. I have also quit sugar (as much as you can when you enjoy prosecco) as mentioned in a previous blog.

It is outrageous. When I do head out for a run I have to run/walk as I just don’t have the energy to do anymore than that. It is quite disconcerting and everytime I feel the need to walk, I feel surprised.

My goal was to be running between 15 – 20k long runs by the time the Christmas holidays arrived so that I would be in a good place to start Marathon training in late January.

Nuh-uh. No way.

I have downloaded a new training plan thanks to AnotherMotherRunner website which is geared towards getting a PB. I think I might have to delay the start and aim for a different race.

Heartbreaking as that is I really have to listen to this amazing body of mine. They tell you what they need. The things you don’t listen to is your negative self talk but that is a whole other blog.

What are your plans leading into Christmas? What is your body telling you? Are you nailing it?? Love to hear a sensational story of someone achieving their exercise goals. Tell me all.

 

My Secret Weapon

I am going to let you in on my secret weapon that keeps me going when things get tough. I recently read a blog by my friend Anne, over at This Running Moms Life, called “It’s Not Always Easy” where she talks about how getting out the door can sometimes be a huge challenge. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you have been running for years, it still isn’t always easy to find the motivation to get yourself into your kicks and onto the pavement. I could relate to her words as if I had uttered them myself.

I lose motivation every two weeks for a few days at a time. I have a regular cycle of the “I don’t wanna’s”. I don’t like it and haven’t worked out how to avoid it. But that is the truth. I have a simple, secret little remedy that I am going to share with you that helps me to keep going.

You can use it to get yourself out of bed for a run, halfway through a run when you start to dive mentally, or any other tough situation when that little voice in your head is telling you to

give up,

stop,

slow down,

finish up,

cut it short,

you can’t do this,

what were you thinking…..

There are three little words that I utter to myself. And it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I have used them, they still work. There is something reaffirming and compelling about them. They instil a sense of belief in yourself. I find this much more motivating than yelling at myself to keep going or telling myself to stop being a sloth and get out there. Belief in yourself seems to be the bed rock that you build everything else upon.

My secret weapon…

“You’ve got this.”

Sometimes I add more, like, “You know you’ve got this. You can do it.” Try saying it now. “You’ve got this.” Feels good, doesn’t it?

Simple, easy, compelling and it works.

Give it a try and let me know how you go. I find it to be magic.

 

 

 

 

Is it true?

Ok dear readers, I would like you to weigh in on this one. I have been told over the last couple of days that if I want to improve at my current sport (hobby) then I need to get right outside my comfort zone and just go for it. The good old, “feel the fear and do it anyway”, kind of approach.

Is this true? Do I have to be that bad ass?

Seeing as I am currently on a mountain doing some downhill skiing, this thought feels me with even more dread then I can already muster up staring down the slope at the start of a run. I am much improved over last year and can tackle the intermediate runs but I cannot keep up with my kids. Not a chance!

But this comment about getting out of your comfort zone and going for it has had me reflecting on how I have improved in other areas of my exercise life.

I absolutely stepped outside my comfort zone training for a marathon and then completing it. But this was done gradually, one longer run after another with some nice speedwork inbetween. There was plenty of time to think about fuelling and training and monitoring how my body was tracking.

I absolutely have stepped outside my comfort zone by joining a swim squad and cranking up the distance in the pool every Monday night. I do my best every time I am in the pool but I am sure the coach is keeping an eye and only letting me do as much as she feels that I can.

However, downhill skiing is an all or nothing kind of sport. You either take that run or you don’t. And if you don’t then you will never know if you could. Could be an all or nothing kind of day today.

Mt Hotham Beauty

What do you think? Do you believe that you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone in order to improve?

Is this how you tackle your training and exercise goals?

 

Lessons learned

I remember reading somewhere recently, I think it was over at the Another Mother Runner website, a comment about the meaning we attribute to things. It was something along the lines of how we attribute meaning to our darkest hours, that through these times we learn so much about ourselves and the nature of the universe. But why can’t we also attribute this meaning to the good times – to the times that fill us with joy and wild abandonment? (I am paraphrasing and cannot find the original source for love nor money…)

I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. Regular readers of my blog will know that I have been sidelined from running due to tendonitis in my ankle. Now, this could have been one of my darkest hours. My training was coming along beautifully and I was well within my reach to run a sub 1:55 half marathon in July. But no, not to be. And I was ok with that. I am still not completely sure why I didn’t have a “moment” or five in desperation for an opportunity missed nor why after having missed the race and seen pics of the delightful gentleman who ran with my bib number (looking like he was nailing it), I don’t feel any kind of resentment or dissatisfaction. Instead, I feel happy and content – although maybe not full of wild abandonment quite yet.

No darkest hour for me.

Ah, but I still have had some great learning from this very positive experience. Firstly, that resilience REALLY IS the breakfast of champions, and secondly, how much easier life is when you can go with the flow and keep things in perspective.

Instead of lamenting my lack of running, I have (finally) started to enjoy cycling. Together with my newly rediscovered love of swimming, I am feeling fitter and stronger than I have for a long time. Probably since I was a teenager if I am completely honest.

And through all of this cross training I am also discovering that I really don’t seem to have ANY fast twitch muscles. BUT, I do have endurance and I have it in spades. When the young girls at swim squad start slowing down in the last 10 minutes, that’s when I feel at my best. I have my rhythm and am content being alone in my head. I feel that I could just keep on swimming at my own pace, in my own way, for another hour. (Anyone else hearing Dory’s voice? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming).

So, no more fighting to get faster. From now on it is all about just enjoying the moment and this lifelong fitness journey that I am on.

Who’s up for a swim? Or a cycle? Or a run?

Resilience is the breakfast of champions

I always have a bit of a laugh at the expression “breakfast of champions”, as you can apply it anywhere to anything that is important. I was using it this morning in relation to sales skills development that questions are the breakfast of champions when it comes to sales professionals (said with a smile on my face). It made me think of how I am getting through my current situation without losing the plot.

Stack of sweet bread and honey

I am injured. Two weeks out from a half marathon that I had flagged as a PR setting race. Due to my new found love of swimming, I have overdone the kicking drills with flippers and two tendons in my ankle have flared up and are chatting a bit too loudly when I am out pounding the pavement. I have seen my physio and his first thoughts were stress fractures so thank goodness we ruled that out! I am doing all the right things to help these tendons play nice except for some reason I keep thinking that I can go out for a run. You know, the night before, sitting on the couch, I think, “yeah, I’ll get up early and run 10k just to see how they go now that I have been icing them for two days.” Then during the night as I wake up to the pain, I realise that it is crazy talk. I am a crazy lady.

What has surprised me is that I haven’t had a melt down. No wobbly, no hissy fit, not even quiet tears in the shower when no one is looking. I am cool with it. My emotional resilience really started to build when I became a parent and then I ran a marathon with an injury six weeks out. I can handle this kind of stuff. It is frustrating and annoying, sure. And it is not the end of the world.

We are so lucky that we can run.

The upcoming half marathon is called Run Melbourne and it is an annual event that is all about raising money for your favourite charity. I feel right now that even though my time goal might be out of my reach, my ability to run 21.1 and raise money for a worthy cause is not. It might hurt, it might not be pretty, but it sure will be fun – half marathons always are.

Another day highlander……

How do you go with emotional resilience? What self talk helps get you out of the pit of despair?

May you be accepting

I have had two lessons in acceptance in quick succession. First thing this morning, as I was getting ready for my long run, I realised that I hadn’t written a blog yesterday. Darn it. I have to accept that blogging every day is not really something that I can maintain. My life lacks routine and can be rather busy. I love it that way and this has implications for my ability to do anything “regularly”. So I accept that blogging every day is not something that works well with the way that I live my life. The experience  of wanting to blog every day in May has made me realise that I can blog more often, just not perhaps EVERY day. 🙂

The second lesson in acceptance unfortunately was a result of my run this morning. I crashed and burned. I was all set to run 18k. I was feeling rather tired after a big week but still ready to go as I love the longer runs. Not to be. A few things were hurting and when my left achilles refused to warm up and kept on twinging I thought it best to pull the pin rather than push through. I have a half marathon in mid July and I want to run it hard so I need to keep myself injury free. I also found this morning that my mind wasn’t doing very well either. Because I had niggly pains here and there, it wanted to stop (more than normal) and I was fighting it incessantly. After 8k I caved in, primarily because of my achilles, and didn’t enjoy it at all. I was miserable. I was annoyed and angry at myself. Lucky I had a 2k walk to get home so that I could sort out my mental state before being with my family.

I pulled myself together. I thought about acceptance. I thought about the Buddhist philosophy that life is suffering. I doubt that he had in mind having to finish up a long run early as “suffering” but you get what I mean. Life doesn’t always go to plan and being able to go with the flow and not get too caught up with your desires, is a very valuable lesson. I find motherhood and running have both given me many opportunities to learn this lesson. And again this morning…….

We often have to accept things as they are and give in to what is going on around us. Knowing when you can make a difference and when best to leave things alone is key.

May you all have the ability to discern the difference and have the graciousness of acceptance when you need it this weekend. Have a good one.

Something Special

I had such a lovely conversation with my mum today. She is quite an extraordinary woman as I have mentioned many times before. Her little gems of wisdom kept me sane through those early childhood years when you are sleep deprived and going a little bit crazy. Well, today we talked about something special.

We literally talked about “something special”. We discussed how wonderful it is to feel the joy that comes from having something special just for you. And how important it is to foster this for yourself and, as parents, for your children.

I realised the other day that I have a fundamental belief, which I obviously got from my parents, that we all have something that makes our heart sing, or we have a natural talent that is near effortless for us but potentially difficult for somebody else. We are all unique.

You can stop calling for the bucket to throw up into, I am serious! I have a bit of a natural talent for group facilitation – I can admit it, I am a big girl. I also have a determination to achieve my goals which comes from being the third child with two academic over achieving older sisters. I decide I am running a marathon and yes, I run a bloody marathon.

There is a wonderful joy when you find this something special and make it part of your life. I think we all need to make sure that we find time to do at least a little of what we love or have a talent for in amongst everything else that we need to get done. I am so lucky that one of the things that makes my heart sing is running. It is pretty easy to accommodate that in my life. I feel sorry for the person whose heart resonates only for Hayley’s Comet or the foot prints of a white rhinoceros.

I also take note of what my children love to do and potentially what might grow into a special knack. It is so wonderful to feel their joy of experience too.

So what is your natural talent and do you use it? What makes your heart sing?