Shut up and run: 5 tips to get out of a training funk

Yup, it’s April. Nearly a quarter of the way through 2018 and all those fabulous fitness and personal goals haven’t really got off the ground yet. I get it. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there this year for sure. After running my ass off last year and completing my final 50 mile race of 2017 at 7:30pm on December 31st, I pretty much imploded after that. The only reason January wasn’t a complete mess was due to giving myself a manageable goal of completing the Whole 30. By the end of the month I was the healthiest I’d been in a long time, even though my overall mileage was a bit low. We all need a break. However, since then, it’s seemed that both my professional and personal life have been at a bit of a standstill. I’m staring at the last couple weeks of school wondering how I managed to make it through this semester and seemingly accomplish nothing. Until very recently I felt tired, lazy, and not motivated, in both school work and fitness. I think I’ve FINALLY got off the sad train and found a more positive and motivated track. It took time and the following 5 life updates:

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  • Invest in a high quality planner. Last year I started using a Panda Planner® and it went a long way towards reducing my stress and allowing much better productivity. For some reason I stopped using it and by March this year I was a complete mess. The to-do list was growing at a faster rate than I could cross things off and it seemed as if I would never accomplish any one thing. I finally bought a new Panda Planner, this time the Pro version, and I’ve already accomplished a list of tasks in one week that had been sitting idle since the beginning of the year. ONE WEEK and several pounds of huge weight have fallen off my shoulders. Panda Planner is more than just a planner; their motto is “Be Happier & More Productive.” It’s amazing how appropriate scheduling and affirmations can completely change  your life. I highly recommend this planner but I think writing down tasks and schedule (rather than keeping everything in digital form) is a really powerful tool no matter what you use.
  • Try something new: I’ve been almost exclusively running as my fitness routine since February because of our new doggy. He’s very high energy so taking him on a run nearly every day goes a long way to keeping him happy and our house in one piece. However, my body and mind definitely crave additional activities. I’ve tried to commit to at least one yoga class a week. Strength training has always been something I know I need but fail to accomplish. I hate gyms so lifting weights isn’t something that I have much access to. Yoga provides a decent amount of body weight strength training but I can tell I need something else. For that reason I’ve decided to start rock climbing again. It’s a great strength workout, it’s fun, and it has nothing to do with running or triathlon lol.  For simplicity of gear and accessibility, I’ve decided to focus on bouldering, which does not require any ropes or harness. We have bouldering free for students at Kennesaw, as well as a bouldering gym in midtown near home. I used to love climbing and the strength and power I gained from it, but I haven’t done it for years since I started running. Time to add some elevation to my routine! In addition, I’ve committed to 2 minutes of plank and several minutes of recovery with my new CTM band. Adding strength and recovery allows every other workout to feel better and more efficient. It’s not about time; it’s about prioritizing quality.
  • Ditch the tech: I started doing one run a week without any gps watch. There’s a 5k route from my house around Grant Park that’s safe and appropriately hilly. Running it without any music or gps allows my body and brain to seriously just shut up and run. It’s cathartic and I’ve had some of my best runs with this method. Let’s stop being slaves to our watches and phones and just enjoy the sounds and feel of our feet on the ground.
  • Spend more time with friends (outside of the run): Most of my closest friends are my running friends. However, it’s time to appreciate these friends outside of the run. I’ve realized how much I enjoy spending time with friends just hanging out around town and have tried to make more effort to do so. Looking forward to a friends dinner night every once in a while goes a long way to maintaining those friendships even if you have to step back from running for a while.
  • Try a new activity that’s not fitness related: I’m all about the well-rounded fitness as a way of life, but sometimes our bodies need to just chill. I’m at a conference in Denver right now and spent time with my brother and his girlfriend for a couple days before the conference. They brought me to a glassblowing class. It was an amazing experience and also a reminder that there’s so many awesome activities to be enjoyed that don’t require a pair of running shoes. Home in Atlanta I’ve been trying to attend more meetup events, especially those related to my professional life like Women Who Code and PyData.  I also volunteered at the Atlanta Science Festival. It’s a great reminder that there’s so much happening around our lives and people we have yet to meet. Get out there and engage!
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Glass blowing awesomeness courtesy of my untapped creativity

For me, running is such a huge part of my life. By adding balance to other areas of my life it’s reignited my energy. I found that my funk had nothing to do with running and everything to do with balance. I’ve actually started running more consistently and each run is more enjoyable. Chime in to let me know how you’ve busted out of the funk and re-engaged your life.

Shut up and run: 5 tips to get out of a training funk
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