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Reality check: training lulls happen. To ALL of us.
There are about a gazillion “motivational” Pinterest pins out there that will claim otherwise; that the truly committed never take days off, mentions of discipline and desire (likely over a photo of chiseled abs), and something about “beast mode” I’m sure. To all of that I call bullsh*t. Even the most committed have their down times. Even the most disciplined need a break. Your “beast-mode” on-switch will burn out if you don’t turn it off sometimes.
Life happens, and guess what: that’s OK
I often feel like a seasoned blogger (maybe even overly-weathered) in a sea of new voices. I constantly read blog posts from people riddled with guilt over the fact that they haven’t lived up to their prescribed training plan, or that they haven’t been able to do as much as they “think” they should be doing. Now, I am not innocent in said posts. There was a time when I would have been ashamed to admit to the whole wide world that I’d fallen off the training wagon. I’d make excuses about kids/school/relationships/the weather to try and justify exactly why I hadn’t been training, and put it all in some sort of wistful, “woe is me” type of post, seeking affirmations from those who could relate.
But now I just don’t care.
No offense of course, my kickass readers, I still think you are all amazing and I appreciate you being here. It’s just that as I’ve slowly learned that life is far more enjoyable when you stop trying to seek the approval of others, or worrying about trivial things that simply don’t matter in the big picture. Now, “not caring” shouldn’t be confused with being an inconsiderate asshole, but instead allowing you to really focus on why you do the things you enjoy (here’s a hint: you do them for YOU.)
So now that we’ve got that mini life lesson out of the way, here’s an update for you: I haven’t lifted a weight in two months, and my cardio has pretty much consisted of lawn mowing, the occasional super slow hike, chasing the kids around the lawn with Nerf dart guns, and maybe a once a week run (maybe). Also, I’ve been indulging in far too many beers on the front porch and ice cream sandwiches.
Hey, it’s summer vactaion, and we are living it up.
Am I still active? Yes. Am I hardcore training? Nope. Regardless of my lack of shame in this admission, it did occur to me at some point this weekend that I’ve got a ridiculous race schedule coming up. I think we are booked every weekend from August to mid October. And these aren’t just casual races, but an onslaught of mountain climbing and carrying heavy things (I’m knocking out my Spartan trifecta all at once, weeks apart, with some other crazy mountain races in between.) Killington mountain would chew me up and spit me out in my current state, soooooo….I better start training.
This morning I dutifully showed up to the gym at 5:30 am. The early bird regulars greeted me with far too much enthusiasm for 5:30 am, and my boss gave me a quizzical “what the hell are you doing here at this hour?” greeting. I sleepily explained myself: something about slacking, big races coming up, 5:30 am is the only time I can sneak out of the house until the kids go back to school.
I struggled to knock out 4 sets of 10 reps of exercises at what was my warmup weight just a few months ago. (Though in a “glass half full” realization, this weight is still far more than I could lift this time last year) Then I tried really, reaaaaaally hard to not toss my cookies as I suffered through a mere 15 minutes on the stairmaster.
Slightly frustrating? Yes.
Soul crushing and shameful? Nope.
Because finding balance in my life, learning to roll with the punches, and appreciating what is happening instead of dwelling on what isn’t, is surprisingly satisfying…far more so than the numbers on the pages of my training journal. Fitness is important, and I’ll be the first to preach that to the masses. But being “healthy” includes a large mental and emotional portion as well. It’s important that we don’t ignore that side.