How Not to Burnout

I typed that title, read it out loud, and my sister laughed at me, y’all.

Maybe it’s because I am very, very bad at taking it easy. As a teacher, the end of the year is VERY STRESSFUL, OKAY?

I’M FINE.

Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to procrastinate and I’m going to do things right…but here we are again. Some things start piling up and it feels like you can never catch up. Somehow it kind of always works out.

I feel that the same can be said about training, too.

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a little over two months now and things are really coming along nicely. My friend and I are using a Hal Higdon training plan and we’re both enjoying it. As the year comes to a close it’s hard to run together, but I’ve stated before that we have plans to train together this summer. I’m definitely excited and nervous about training during a lovely Florida summer, but at least it will be character building!

One thing I noticed when I first started training was that I was ready to go ALL IN BABY. I’d also started a weight loss journey and I just knew I was going to get svelte and everything was going to be amazing.

That was clearly not what happened. I was tired. I was working out or running every single day, and I wasn’t losing how I wanted to. I got kind of obsessed with closing the green circle on my Apple Watch. It was so satisfying to close those rings! I was so proud!

I was also burning myself out. So. I stopped cross training. I realized that the running and stretching was more important than anything else. As a runner, I know that cross training is important¬†at the right time. I love working out. I love finding new things that my muscles can do. But I hated forcing myself to do things for no reason. (Obviously being healthy is a good reason, but it wasn’t part of my training plan.)

I’ve felt a lot better since I stopped and reevaluated my workout plan. I’ve made it to my goal weight and, with my marathon training, I’m getting read to actually add cross training back into my plan. It’s perfect timing, with summer just around the corner.

Training has been an interesting experience for me. I’ve had plenty of good runs, but I feel like the bad run outnumber them. I’m out there, though. I’m moving and getting the miles in. I’m feeling strong

Except today.

Today I put my pajamas on at 5PM.

You’ve got to take care of yourself.

When Things Aren’t Perfect

Life can be fricking hard, yo. I don’t have it figured out, but I do know what helps me when things get tough. Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about dealing with life’s struggles. I hope they help you, too, and always be kind to yourself.

 

Why I Hate “Cheat” Days

You know what phrase I actually hate? “Cheat Day.”

Why?

Because “cheating” connotes bad behavior. Cheating says to me that you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Cheating implies that the food that you’re eating is bad and wrong and you should have to rationalize when you allow yourself to have it.

That’s messed up.

Or at least it is from a “I want to eat healthy and look fit but maintain a healthy relationship with food” perspective.

It’s a real struggle to meal plan every week, prep healthy lunches for work, count macros and ensure that my body is getting enough protein, fat and carbs to fuel my workouts (and my life). It’s also a struggle when I’ve eaten the same thing for lunch for three weeks and dinners have consisted of salads and chicken. Or salads and turkey burgers. Or X meat + Y vegetable… and all I’m looking for is a little pleasure in the food I’m eating.
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In order to make sure I don’t start hating food, or seeing it merely as a tool, I make room for those “bad” things. Like this weekend – my boyfriend has worked for nearly a month straight, we’ve had little time together in the evenings after the gym before we both collapse with exhaustion, and every weekend has been busy, between travel, work and other commitments. We both needed a break.

Rather, first we needed sleep. Then we needed a break.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

So, Saturday was an unplanned rest day. No alarms. Slept until 10:30. Woke up, got donuts, toodled around running some errands and doing a little shopping, picked up some used books, and then had an amazing date night on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. And THEN we got ice cream.

Not once throughout the day did I think “oh man, I feel so gross.” Or “I should have worked out today” – because I know that 1. I work hard enough every other day that one (or two) days off in a row is necessary. 2. My body has been so tired for the past week that my workouts have been lackluster at best. I’d rather be rested and healthy in the gym than tired and dragging. 3. I really like donuts and ice cream and my boyfriend, and enjoying those things together just made my soul feel lighter.

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I love this guy. I love him even more than I love donuts and ice cream.

Basically, what I’m saying is that 80% of the time, my diet is very much dialed in to my fitness goals. But 20% of the time, my diet looks different, but still dialed in to those goals. Because ultimately, I know I can’t achieve the gainz or the pr’s I want if I’m not feeling my best and I’m not happy. Stress and fatigue are killers. And a disordered relationship with food only exacerbates those things.

So, yes. This weekend, we were off the meal plan wagon. But do I feel like I cheated? Not even a little bit. Taking care of your body also means taking care of your whole self – and my whole self feels a lot better after a weekend away from schedules and details and obligations and plans.