I still have a lot to learn. But isn’t that what it’s all about? For months I have been worrying that my training was not really going anywhere. I was at the point where I had plateaued and nothing felt challenging. I could not see the forest for the trees. There is nothing worse than feeling like all of your hard work may not be the thing that matters in the end. What if I stopped running? What if I just stopped. My mind was out of control with negative thoughts and self doubt, and my mental state was spiraling downward at an alarming pace.
THANK GOODNESS I figured out pretty quickly that my anxiety about my training was just plain anxiety brought on by stress. And my anxiety was out of control due to a running deload week and adjustments in training due to a series of minor aches and pains. My body needed the rest, but my brain was not happy.
How do you handle a deload week or a recovery period?
Thanks to some great advice from my trainer, and building on what I already knew, I was able to wrangle in the negativity and self doubt and make it a great week.
How to manage stress when you can’t work hard:
- Get back to nature- When you can’t run outside, just spending time outside doing something mindless like weeding or gardening can help; make sure you get in the squat position for some added mobility.
- Meditate- I like music, but if you need more guided meditation, try Headspace. Do not try to meditate at work if your workspace is open concept; people make think you are taking a nap.
- Mobility- Here’s good advice for what to do on your off day; Yoga is also a great option. Yoga outside accomplishes, no. 1, 2 and 3.
- Eat right- cut back on caffeine, sugar and alcohol; the last thing you want to do is amp yourself up or self medicate
- Read something that reminds you not to take your thoughts too seriously; my favorite go to is Stillness Speaks,by Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now .
So after a weekend of reading Tolle and intentionally trying to add a daily practice of meditation to my routine, I was able to manage a very stressful week and end the week in a peaceful, positive place.
What is remarkable to me is that in spite of adding more to my workouts this week, including running a 10k race, (or maybe because of it, or the combination of both) my body feels rested and calm as well.