New Month, New Routines
Although I thoroughly enjoyed August, it’s time for me to get back into the swing of things. For many, September marks the beginning of a new school year, fresh of promise, new clothes, and empty binders and notebooks. I’m taking a similar approach and using September as a chance to reexamine things and develop some big plans/goals for the remainder of this year & into next. I know myself and in order to be successful, I need to establish some new routines because without a routine it is all too easy for me to put things off a day (or 2 or 20).
Just a quick recap of August. When mid August hit I was burned out in many ways. Work travel and stress had taken its toll on me, while months of hard training with less then ideal rest had also finally gotten to me, meaning I needed a break all around. Lucky for me this also timed perfectly with vacation and the labor day weekend holiday. All in all, I think I only “worked out” about 5 hours the entire month. This was less then I had done in a week, with the exception of maybe one or two, this entire year! I did, however, get much needed rest (both mental and physical), tried some new things, and spent time with family. The downside is I also gained around 8 or 9lbs, which my diet had a lot to do with I think.
As I leave vacation mode and return back to work, I’ve begun to reflect on the month overall a couple things come to my mind:
1)Being active doesn’t necessarily mean logging miles on your bike or running crazy distances; it means moving your body (remember hopscotch or exploring the woods as a kid?). Yes, I still need to do things like H.I.T. workouts, hill loops and 5ks, but I also need to do more “fun” things which aren’t recorded or tracked. And yes, I do realize this is a little ironic after my last products I love post. Overall, I think it’s important to find new ways of being active to challenge both your mind and body.
2)Family truly is the most important thing in life, and when I refer to family I don’t just mean those that share your dna. I believe family is the people who support you through the good and the bad, and are there for you no matter what. It seems many of us have lost loved ones this year, and it continues to remind me that we need to remember to spend time with and enjoy what time we have with out families. As fitness enthusiasts I think we all need to ask ourselves, “is that second workout of the day really worth missing your son’s basketball game for?”
3)Kind of on the flip side of #2, we need to take advantage of being active when we have the opportunity, as we never know when injury, illness or even our career will sideline us. Take for example a friend of mine; she maximized her travel and experiences as a pro mountain biker before crashing out of a World Cup. I know that regardless of what she does next (once the injury is fully healed), she will remember the people she met and the experiences she had while racing her mountain bike. It may have been tough to travel alone, without her husband, but she experienced things few ever will. At the end of the day, she may wonder “what if” she hadn’t crashed at Windham, but I’m sure she will never regret getting out there and going for it when she could.
4)Downtime is important. I am definitely someone who needs to get a set amount of sleep at night, or I am not a pleasant person to be around. This I have known since I was young, and while I go through periods of getting less then the ideal, it never lasts, as I just can’t function. What I haven’t paid attention to much before is basic down time in my day. I’ve always been Ms Super-productive, cramming as much into my day as possible and feeling proud that I can jungle so much all a once. I don’t know if it’s age or simply just being more aware, but I realize this isn’t the best thing for my body. I need to take time to just relax and, yes, sit on the couch. Without these breaks in my daily routine, I find myself getting burnt out. The same thing can be said for racing, take cyclocross for example. Races in NE are virtually every weekend, both saturday and sunday. Do you really think your body (leaving your mental capacity out of it) can perform at its best 2/7 days per week for 15 weeks in a row? I know mine sure can’t, which is why we all need some downtime built into our schedules.
5)And finally, nutrition. I hate to even talk about this one, as it is my least favorite topic, but after a month of airport food, eating out, no schedule and fair food, I know I need to think about it. I personally struggle with vegetables and when to eat. Vegetables are probably the #1 best foods for you, yet there are very few I can stand to eat. I tell myself eating more fruit (which I love) makes up for it, but deep down I know this isn’t true. Also, being hypoglycemic (or is it hyper?, I can never remember), I need to eat regularly or I risk the shakes or passing out. When I am on a regular routine, I have no problem with this. The trouble is when I am travelling or “off” my normal schedule.
You’ve probably noticed a theme in what I’ve been saying, and that is I believe the key to healthy living is moderation. The problem with crash diets (besides most not actually being that good for your body) is that you can’t continue to follow them for the rest of your life. The same can be said for intense workout programs. You can’t simply change your eating/working out habits for a day, week, or month and expect real change in your life, it needs to be a lifetime commitment. For example, if you absolutely hate running, then either don’t do it or find alternative ways of “running” that make it enjoyable. There are so many physical activities you can do to keep your body moving, it’s not worth torturing yourself by doing something you don’t enjoy, plus you are less likely to stick with it. Also, If you love ice cream, like I do, then you can’t completely eliminate it from your life. Instead you need to find ways of moderating it. Instead of a large bowl every night after dinner, you could cut back to one small scoop a couple times a week. Basically I’ve discovered that I need to come up with strategies that can help me maintain my routine, since I am a creature of habit, no matter where I am or what else I have going on. I need to set realistic goals that will challenge me on various levels, and overall I just need to HAVE FUN!
Posted on September 4, 2012, in Biking, Cyclocross, Mountain Bike, Other, Racing and tagged athletes, balance, eating right, fitness, fun, goals, healthy-living, labor day weekend, lessons learned, logging miles, nutrition, priorities, sleep, swing of things, time with family, training, travel, vacation, vacation mode, weekend holiday, windham world cup, work. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.