Marathon Training: Off the Wagon (and Back on Again)
I have a confession. We spend a lot of time singing the praises of exercise at Fitbie, and though our acclaim is well deserved—exercise can improve your health, help you live longer, and, in most cases, be a lot of fun--sometimes the unexpected gets in the way, and sometimes working out can feel like a drag. Last week the former morphed into the latter for me, resulting in four straight days without running. My reluctance to get back on the road ended up loosely resembling the five stages of grief:
Denial: Alarm goes off. “I don’t have to get up. I’ll run tomorrow. Missing one run won’t hurt.”
Anger: “Ugh. This stinks. I hate this. Why am I doing this to myself? Where are my socks?” [kicks bedpost]
Bargaining: “OK, I’ll go back to bed today, but I’ll run three extra miles and do yoga tomorrow…or the next day.”
Depression: “I’m so slow. I should have run yesterday. My whole plan is off now. I’m never going to finish this thing.”
Acceptance: “Diddy ran a marathon. Al Roker ran a marathon. You can run a marathon, darn it. Let’s do this thing!”
Somewhere between “depression” and “acceptance” I employed a few tricks to get myself pumped up again:
Gave myself a mental pep talk: I reminded myself of my goal, and that I’m tough, and that in the big scheme of things--approximately 64 running days—missing a few workouts won’t destroy me.
Revisited the plan: I purposely wrote my plan in pencil. I can alter it to make sure I get in the miles I need. Specifically, I had initially planned on using this week as a step back week. Instead, I designated last week as my step-back week, and am back to ramping up my mileage this week.
Teamed up: On my first run back I made plans to run with a friend to keep myself accountable.
Eased back in: I allowed myself to run super slowly on my first run back, even though it meant at some point my aforementioned running partner ran ahead of me.
Popped in earbuds: I’m a sucker for a good workout tune. Just putting on some upbeat music makes me feel like kicking butt (one of these days I’ll post my somewhat embarrassing running playlist).
Whew. Glad to have that off my chest. Have you ever been derailed when trying to stick to an exercise routine or training plan? How did you cope? Let me know in the comments!
Related: 6 Running Tips for Overcoming Mental Blocks
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