... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Monday, January 14, 2013

Growing Pains

Okay, while I would love to tell you that my enthusiasm and motivation level never drop and that I am always thrilled to lace up my running shoes and head out the door, I have to admit that I do have moments (and even weeks) when I falter. After riding the train of energy and motivation that has carried me through the first four weeks of training, something shifted in the past week and I have found myself dragging my feet a little. The swimming sounded overwhelming instead of relaxing, biking was tedious, and the running was just plain old painful. I was dreading each workout and feeling sluggish. After examining my mental state and what exactly it was that I was dreading, I came up with a couple of possible culprits for my training depression.

First, I realized that I had made significant jumps in the two of the three disciplines. The schedule had called for increases in running time from 20 minutes to 35 minutes in a very short period, and I had quickly gone from being able to run the entire distance with little trouble to needing to walk twice during the interval. Frustration was sneaking its way into my psyche. In the same amount of days, the swimming distance has been increased by over 200 meters. Distance alone would not be an issue for the swimming, but combined with the introduction of my super sexy Ear BandIt and snorkel-free stroke it dawned on me that I was feeling overwhelmed. 

Second, I have to admit that my diet has been less than ideal in the past two weeks. After the food poisoning incident I was unable to eat much besides white rice and applesauce, which somehow evolved into reducing my fruit and vegetable intake and increasing the amount of starchy foods I consumed even after my appetite returned. Once I could eat again I was ravenous, and satiated my empty stomach with anything and everything it could possibly desire. Unfortunately, few of those things were healthy. It has now been two weeks since I got sick and I have failed to return to my former healthy eating habits resulting in poor digestion, lack of energy, and a generally bloated and uncomfortable feeling. 

Third, I have been modifying the training schedule quite a bit in the past week and a half. I haven't skipped any workouts, but I have moved them around and rearranged them to fit what I feel like doing at the time. Some of the reasons for the substitutions were valid- unexpected shifts at work, a strained calf muscle that needed an extra day before stressing it again, but others- getting drunk at the beach or trying to watch all 30 episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia that I hadn't seen before they take them off Netflix, can hardly be described as necessary. As I ran today in the pouring rain, mud soaking the backs of my legs and sweat-laced water running down my forehead and stinging my eyes, I realized that if I hadn't switched my schedule around I would have completed my run yesterday under a clear sky and could be sitting inside, happy and dry. Damn. 

Now that I have identified these issues, I feel refocused and ready to tackle their solutions. The answer to the first problem is simply to accept the frustration that comes with adding new distance and gear to my workouts and allow myself to feel it while staying positive and remembering that I will not always feel overwhelmed. Feeling discomfort is normal and does not mean that I am not making progress. The only thing that can keep me from making progress is giving up, and that is something that I won't do. Uncomfortable is okay- this too shall pass. The second issue is a little more difficult to tackle, simply because I really love pasta, pizza, and weird things like rice cakes with melted butter. Luckily, I also really love mangos, blueberries, apples, and kiwis, so I went to the store and filled my fridge with brightly colored and delicious fruit. Between willpower and mangos I know I can get back on track with my eating. The schedule problem is just stupid. No excuses, no more allowing myself to choose what I feel like doing, because when I mess with the schedule I feel disorganized and lazy. The schedule is the schedule is the schedule, and unless I break a hip I will stick to it. 

I learned this week that identifying what is causing your dwindling motivation and facing it head on is the first step to overcoming it. Here's to next week- optimistic, healthy, and organized. I can always be better.

No comments:

Post a Comment