A slump and how my favorite training tools usually come to my rescue. (but maybe not this time?)

Here is a weird thing that I do, and I wonder if anyone else does: when I am having a bad day/week/month, I look for confirmation that things are indeed shitty, or that I really have slipped out of momentum toward my goal(s).

Too vague? Let me explain. I am really struggling with being tired, and really moody this week. I didn’t enjoy running on Monday or Tuesday. Partly, I think, because I have not been able to run outside in nearly two weeks, and I am tired of the recirculating air in the gym, and the bizarre (off balance) feeling of the treadmill belt under my feet, and the feeling that people are watching me run. (also, as with other women, I experience this pretty much every month)
I felt my motivation waning yesturday and was looking forward to my first group run with the Boston Bound program. Then, I got out of work 20mins late which meant I wouldn’t make it to Piper’s Alley in time to catch the group, plus the wind chill was between -15 and -20, so it’s possible the run was cancelled anyway. I had a headache that was going on 48hrs so rather than go run at the gym, I went to petsmart with Jorge and bought toys for the dogs (they turn 2 today), then went home.

Having an unplanned day off of running made me feel even worse. Next, I overate, and this made my headache worsen. I went to bed with enough time to get about 7 hrs of sleep, then got up do a few little things. Then went back to bed and played with my iPad for an hour. It was really hard to get up this morning, and the first thing I did was step on the scale. I was a pound and a half heavier than I was for my “weigh-in” on Sunday morning.

One of my instructors at school this morning was talking about how we frame things and that determines a lot of how we behave. That is, we each have rules about ourselves, and we say those rules to ourselves, and then behave in a way that conforms to those rules. Here is an example from me:

Rule: when I don’t get enough sleep I feel crappy, eat crappy, make bad decisions, and don’t get things done.
SO: I am tired so I don’t even bother to pack my lunch and dinner (based on the rule above). I am tired so I don’t even bother to try to get certain projects done (based on the rule above), I play “plants vs. zombies” in bed for a hour because I am already so tired who cares if I get 5 not 6 hrs of sleep.
That was my day yesterday, and when you look at it in this way it illuminates exactly how ridiculuous I was/am being, and shows how much control you really have over how you feel. If I had packed my food, stuck to my to-do lists, and just gone to bed properly, I probably would have gotten up feeling back on track today.

The point my instructor at school was making (we were actually talking about one of my clients, but I, or anyone, could really benefit from this) was that if you identify what the rules are that you have for yourself, then you can break them. Once you have broken a rule, you will see that everything is just fine, great even, and that your rule was not an accurate representation of reality.

My point in the opening of this post, is that I KNEW my weight would be up. Of course it would, I had a whole bunch of extra food in my gut from the night before, I hadn’t used the bathroom yet, and I barely broke a sweat in spin class yesterday. Even though I knew it would be up, I weighed myself at a time I typically wouldn’t, as if looking for support (a rule maybe) for feeling like crap. as if looking for something to make me feel worse. Looking for excuses.

My charts and graphs offer additional support for the rule theory.  On my mileage comparison you can very clearly see that while training for the Portland Marathon I also hit a wall in week 7 (this week), my total mileage was only 23! I had logged 24 already this week. Also, you can see that although I skipped a planned run yesterday I have only had 1 day off of running in the last 8, which is probably too much!

This is evidence that I need to practice “practicing what I preach”. I may be great at self-monitoring, but I clearly need to work on my self-management!

I went to the gym this afternoon planning to run 8 miles on the treadmill. My right foot started to hurt at about mile 6. At 7.25 I had to stop. It felt like someone had dropped a boulder on my foot! I hobbled home, and am elevating it now. I am afraid to get in the shower, it hurts to put weight on it. I am really scared I hurt myself for real. I also just ate a TON of graham crackers…something I know disagree’s with my stomach…there I go following false rules again. Junk food will not heal my foot, hydration, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine might help, but have I done that? Nope.
In an effort to snap out of this cycle I would like to share some of my favorite training tools with you:

  • The 2010 Boston Marathon on my DVR ( I like watching it while I am on my Spin bike)
  • My spin bike (in the living room)
  • Yoga Straps and Night splints (to stave off planters fasciitis and achilles tendonitis)
  • Coffee: to get things moving
  • Immodium: to slow those things down
  • The “Stuff You Should Know” podcast
  • “This American Life” podcast
  • Runners World Pace Calculator
  • Excel and Numbers for iPad
  • http://www.gmap-pedometer.com
  • Stuff: contrived reinforcers 🙂  – lululemon, Fitness Magazines such as runner’s world or M&F Hers, books by runners and other athletes.
  • Nike+ Sportband (I hope I can upgrade to a GPS enabled device soon)
  • Apple sauce that comes in a tube/pouch (I can’t stomach the sports gels)
  • 100% Fruit Juice!  (any kind will do, especially if cut with fizzy water)

What things support your training? How do you get out of a slump?

If you want more information on Relational Frame Theory or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (the rule stuff I was talking about) here are some resources:

http://contextualpsychology.org/act

http://www.ironshrink.com/articles.php?artID=071227_what_is_relational_frame_theory_one

http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/090208p36.shtml

-AB

3 responses to “A slump and how my favorite training tools usually come to my rescue. (but maybe not this time?)

  1. Hey Annabelle, So sorry that you are in a slump, and I sure hope that hurting foot turns out to be nothing really.
    What do I do?
    1) I look at my training journals for clues from the past
    2) I talk it out with my husband
    3) I watch stoopid TV or movies
    4) I go shopping
    Not in that particular order 🙂

  2. Well said. Massage the foot, I hope it is all better soon.
    M

  3. Stoopid movies and TV, yes!…I cry at everything this week (well, all things on TV). Glee made me tear-up yesterday. GLEE! That is not right.

    Getting my foot x-rayed today.

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