A few weeks ago, I talked about modifications and choices to make when vacation meets training. What about when life happens? What I mean is anything from the list of life that creeps up, tries to take over, and can affect your mind, body, eating, and exercise habits. Work, relationships, decisions, health, deadlines, finances, etc. These things affect us all in some capacity and at some point. It’s life! When something from the list of life affects me or stresses me out, I say “life is happening.”
As you may have guessed, life is happening, and I’m embarking on Week 6 of training. I thought I’d use this post to get real, talk about the ways life circumstances are intersecting with training, and how I’m trying to stick to my goals despite such.
- My appetite is being affected, but I need fuel for my workouts… so yeah, I’m forcing food on a stomach that would rather be left alone. Fortunately, I don’t stress eat since stress causes appetite loss and upset tummy, but that means I have to be mindful of when and what I’m eating. If you’re like me, your meals may come at odd times because of this… I’m mindful to keep an eye on the clock and eat something that will give me energy around meal times. I try and take in more mixes of good fats and proteins to keep my mind and body going. I prep at the beginning of the week, so I can just grab and go. Smoothies with nut butters, egg sammies with avocados in the mornings, and fruits, veggies, and quinoa have been a constant as of late.
- What is being most affected is sleep, which I’ve learned many times does not go hand-in-hand with intense workouts. Your body simply needs rest. Where my rigorous training schedule allots for two days off, I’ve been taking three or so, two of those three are sometimes back-to-back when I know I have a long run coming. I have also reduced those longer runs by a mile or two. I can always up the intensity again down the road, but as long as I’m running three to four days a week, I’m not too worried about reducing my mileage by a couple.
- With less sleep comes groggy mornings and coffee, one thing to which my body is not as accustomed. As I’m drinking more caffeine than normal, I try to stop by 10am, and am also upping my water intake during the day so I stay on top of that hydration.
- Ahh the busy-brain… swimming with thoughts. One of the many reasons I run is for release, escape. I’m really trying to dig into that during my workouts and see it as time for me, time for my mind, time for my body. If I do nothing else that day to quiet my mind, I have carved out that time into my schedule and try to use it wisely. Sometimes I have to turn down the tunes, listen to the rhythm of my breath and footfalls, stop and take in my surroundings (I’ve been running near the beach more), take more deep breaths, incorporate more yoga, and try to let go. Even if just for a couple minutes here and there during the workout. I owe it to myself to find those moments to relax and release.
Making time for the things that bring me moments of peace can be a challenge. If I find myself becoming less present in the moment, take a night out with friends for example, I remove myself, check in and see if it’s really doing me any good to stay in that moment or if I can find it within to bring myself back and enjoy. It’s always good to check in with yourself. Sometimes it’s good to sit with an uncomfortable moment, other times not. Staying present as often as you can, rather than numbing out a moment is paramount. When life happens, it’s inevitable that moments drift by and we miss out. Staying present, feeding our body the foods it needs (and ok, allowing for a couple of splurges), monitoring the caffeine and alcohol intake, making time for rest (even if sleep doesn’t happen), and breathing. These are the things that take more of a conscious effort on my part these days.
Sometimes all you need is a good run. Other times, only a glass of wine will do. No matter what, all we can do is keep breathing.