I’m five glorious and horribly long weeks away from my trip to Australia. With the way work is going lately, I’m confident that the time will fly by in an immensely stressful blink of an eye.
My work stress levels haven’t been this high since the craziness of the summer. The difference here is that, since I am eight months in, I feel more pressure to perform and there is more expected of me. Despite the fact that stress is miserable, the challenge is quasi enjoyable. It really is nice to be part of something and doing stuff that actually has a tangible impact.
I just wish that work wasn’t impacting my fitness. Lately I’ve been struggling with feeling too stressed to work out…and I HATE it. Generally, I set myself up for doing my 15-minute rule…if I want to quit after 15 minutes, I quit/move on to another activity. This way you give it a whirl and if you are having a rough day, you just let it go guilt free.
But lately the high stress levels are making getting changed into my gym clothes feel like I am about to finish an Ironman. I missed two days last week because I was beyond leaving the house again or doing anything that challenged me mentally. It happened twice last week and I have to admit, I didn’t feel guilty in the least. It is definitely not a habit that I want to get into, but there are times when you need to just breathe and employ a little self care.
I think the bigger struggle for me right now, is that I have very little mental stamina to run hard enough to show any sort of gains and get back to where I was in 2014 with my goals of running a 48 minute or faster 10K (current PR is 49 mins exactly) and a sub 1:50 half (current PR is 1:52:20). When stress and mental fatigue has eaten into your energy stores (and likely other things), it can be hard to push…or at least I feel it is.
What am I doing about it- well, a lot actually.
- I’m taking a bit of the pressure off. I haven’t been running harder consistently in about a year (Princess 2015 to be exact…my training sorta took a back seat for Pixie Dust due to Herbie the Hip Flexor), so it will def. take some time to get back, especially when I’m already feeling a bit depleted.
- I’m going to try my best to just move when I can. If it’s not always a spot on training run, then it’s cool. There is always tomorrow. There is also workouts that aren’t running – hot yoga, swimming, biking, walking, classes….so many things – that are not likely to require what a hard training run requires. And, on those days where getting dressed is an Ironman, I will stay home…and maybe do some therapeutic baking.
- Try and meet friends for fitness. Having a date to workout def. helps in the motivation department. I haven’t missed a swim class yet – and I’m confident it is because I meet my friend for the class. If it wasn’t her, I may have only ever attended that horrible first class.
- REALLY WARM UP. I start slow during my runs when I’m feeling crispy fried. Starting out slow allows me to find a pace that eases me into my run…which is not all that different from how I start a half marathon. Then, as I feel better, I bump up the speed a bit…which, for whatever reason, gives me some extra oomph to go even a smidge faster or to push the incline a little higher…even if it is in short bursts.
- Self care to the max. I cannot say this enough. The older I get, the more important that self care thing becomes. A little preventative/maintenance self care can go a long, long way in protecting yourself from a big time burnout in the future. So maybe add an extra 30 minutes to your gym time and have a sit in the steam room or a soak in the spa/Jacuzzi/hot tub. Bring your tablet or some magazines to read on the bike while you burn some calories. Get to bed instead of wasting time reading click-bait articles on Facebook or playing another level of Candy Crush (or whatever has replaced Candy Crush).
What do you do when stress impacts your workout? Share your tips in the comments!