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Training for the marathon when I was born a sprinter??

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Does anyone else here struggle with doing too much? If you do, I'd really like your tips on how you honestly evaluate which days it is in your best interest to do less?

For myself, I don't like feeling weak and in my journey I've discovered that any day I feel a little under the weather, a little overused or just really exhausted and weak is usually the day I will push the heck out of myself to do more. Twisted, I know, but I do.

Today is one of those days. I woke up feeling worse than when I went to bed. The fatigue and exhaustion are so deep it echoes as a full body ache. So I learn to take it slow, but there's still responsibilities to be done; I have a script to memorize, choreography to master, music to arrange and all my own healthy and creative goals. Plus errands, calls and emails to answer-- any of this sounding familiar? :)

I also know that cardio will usually overwhelm the fatigue and give me a boost of happy and a bit of energy. I know that at rehearsal tonight, the likelihood is that work and the energy of everyone else will overwhelm this ache and even with diligence, I'll get caught up in it and give it my all. And a little more. Which means tomorrow morning will mostly likely feel worse. Unless I'm really really careful and pay more attention to my body and how I'm feeling-- which is a skill I'm still working on slowly, I'll admit.

This of course is dependent upon me getting to rehearsal. Which honestly, all day, I've been wondering how. I could use extra coffee, or sing, or do extra cardio, those would all get me up and overcome this fatigue, yet they all come at a cost. I have just so many energy and attention coins to spend on any given day, and today I have less than usual, so I need to be very careful how and where I spend them. I need to spend enough to feel well enough to get to rehearsal, but not spend so many I collapse mid-way through. (Yes, this has happened, though only that dramatically a long, long time ago, now it's more a crash in slow motion).

The bike felt like a massive effort, even a short session of 25 minutes was like lifting furniture in heavy gravity. Instead of energizing me, it just gave me enough to almost feel human. An hour later it's effects are already wearing off. But I'm not sick, this is just how it's been a lot lately. The Doctor's are running tests and they have ideas, but nothing conclusive and what it boils down to is I need to learn how to manage myself, my energy and my activities and learn to be honest about when it's time to rest. And then doing it. Which is a lot harder than it sounds.

So, how do you do it? How do you look inward and evaluate honestly that 'yes, this is a day I need to rest more than work, possibly even skip cardio?" Or how do you know when to stop in cardio, so that you quit before you've gone a little too far? Can you tell when your body is getting too tired, had a little too much, or do you, like myself, try to feel it but somehow mostly miss the cues until you are french kissing that proverbial wall?

How do we learn to choose the healthiest activities for the marathon and not the sprint? I never knew it about myself, but I guess I'm a sprinter. I like to charge forward with all I've got, run myself right into that wall, and the pick up, recover as quick as possible and go find the next race. That's a lot of fun, but it's not going to get me through the cross country run I'm building for myself in my career. I need to think long-term, and train my body accordingly so that I do it healthy and true to loving myself. Even when that means loving my weakness and limitations. Wow, that's probably going to be one I'm still working on right up until they put me in that grave. :)

Of course, all you life marathoner's out there, I'd love to hear your ideas for the long-term training, what works for you, how you think about things, all that. I've got to learn and you've got experience. Please post in my comments your dialogue. Thanks in advance and as always, thank you for reading me.


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    Wow, Tudd14480, thank you for commenting...it's odd, that is the ONE thing that showed up in my bloodwork yesterday. I'm vitamin D deficient, too. It's the ONLY thing we found abnormal, and my Doc recommended a high dose prescription version. We both found it odd, since I do try to spend time every day we have sun, out in it, for at least 15-30minutes, without sunblock. I generally get that a few times a week at least, and I drink lots of milk.

    I didn't think much of this news, honestly, though my Doc suggested it could contribute to the joint pain and muscle cramps I've been getting. So I thought it worth a shot, but now after reading your post, I'll take this more seriously and am feeling much more hopeful that maybe this will actually help. :) Thank you!
    4035 days ago
    Congratulations on your journey and blogging about it so that others can share your challenges and successes. Perhaps there's information that the docs can give you. You know, I had a massive Vitamin D deficiency that showed up in a blood test. I have been taking prescription Vit D and OTC vitamin D (Doctor knows and approves of this too). 50,000IU Prescription 1 X per week + OTC 2000/daily. I have been doing this for over a year now and my Vit D level have improved dramatically from where it was. However, it's still just below the lowest acceptable range. My doctor wants me to continue on until we get the Vit D levels in a more normal range. Vitamin D affects many body systems. I can tell you that my energy levels have improved a lot since my Vitamin D levels have improved. Just something to consider. A simple blood test will let you know if this is a factor. Everyone is different as far as how much D supplementation it takes to get to the right level. Good luck. emoticon
    4035 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/20/2010 8:34:21 PM
    I totally understand what you mean about pushing yourself to do too much. I would recommend pushing yourself to do structured, relaxing activities on days where your body is asking you for a little break.

    Try taking a bath, getting a massage, reading, doing an art project, light cleaning or chatting with a friend you want to catch up with.

    4038 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/17/2010 11:26:41 PM
    I generally don't know either when enough is too much, lol.

    So I follow other people's plans. Right now I'm training for a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56 mile bike ride that will take place in July.

    So I'm following a half-iron triathlon plan and swap around the days of each week to fit my exercise classes and schedule.

    The training calendar is periodized, meaning it builds and builds week after week and then they'll throw in a "rest" week before building you up again.

    And you know what? I think they knew what they were doing when they put together this training plan because by the end of last week I was really starting to drag and feel just plain bone-tired and sore all over.

    ...and voila! Today is a rest week and I'm already starting to feel recovered and more energetic.

    So I guess the short answer is that I cheat and let someone else tell me what to do. LOL
    4040 days ago
    Since you already know that you are a sprinter and you need to be a marathon-er, you need to make a plan. And stick to it. Each week you need to put on the plan what you need to do and then see how much work you are doing for each of these things. Then you have to look at what places/days you have extra time which may mean extra energy. This way you can "book" in times for more fun things.

    With that said, you are an intense person. Everything you do, you put all of yourself into. This can be a good thing, but if you use up all of your energy on just say, grocery shopping you won't have enough for a fun time with friends.
    I think you need to ask yourself why everything has to be so intense. Some things are not worth the intensity. These are making you hit a wall well before you have to.

    Just as Royaletbone has said, Slow down. Not physically but emotionally and mentally. Then you will have what you need.
    Ask yourself, if I dont' put all that energy into (whatever) will the world end? The other question I usually ask myself is, Will this matter in 20 years?

    Hope you can get this worked out.
    4041 days ago
  • BRIAN36
    I will be really interested to hear what others have to say on this subject. I struggle with this myself.

    I do spin, kickboxing and running and I have found that I need to determine what goal it is that I'm striving for and vary the intensity or quantity of the other workouts to make sure I perform the best on the goal that I'm shooting for. Right now it's the marathon, so spin and KB are taking a backseat to running. I still do them but I will skip a workout if its the day before an important training run.

    In short, don't sacrifice quality for quantity.
    4041 days ago
    Oh, darlin', we are related!
    I have learned to call it my 'berzerker' self. When I think I must, when I get competitive, I push until I break. I consider it EXACTLY what got me into obesity- the ignoring of my body, the refusal to pay attention to what is going on internally.
    So, tips?
    For me, it's just SLOWING DOWN enough to get really present in my body. SLOWING DOWN enough to feel what's going on. Meditative time is a necessity for me. Or... I french kiss the proverbial wall, as you put it so darn well.
    15 minute nap? And then taking care of you?
    It's such an individual journey, ain't it?
    4041 days ago
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