Thankfully, this week was much quieter than the last. In fact, I think most of our weeks for the next two months or so are going to be primarily dedicated to some small baby projects, and trying to rest as much as possible. My training this week wasn’t great, and I mostly blame a lot of non workout activities, like my baby shower, lack of sleep, and feeling anxious. I’m always surprised at how many of my athletes completely ignore all of the non workout mistakes and difficulties they experienced when telling me how their week of training went.
Not getting enough sleep, food, and recovery can completely derail the best training plan, even when the plan is followed nearly flawlessly. Which is why I want to share a few non workout things that can wreak havoc on training goals. So that you can learn when to realistically expect set backs, and how to navigate and deal with training and real life. For me, my sleep quality this week was just absolute garbage.
Related Post: The Importance of Rest In Training
I moved my long run from last Saturday to Sunday to accommodate my baby shower, and in hind sight I maybe should have skipped it all together. I’ve had a hard time getting comfortable at night, and feel like I’m waking up every couple of hours and then having a hard time getting back to sleep. Not all together unexpected in the last trimester of pregnancy, but something that made Sunday’s long run feel a lot like a slog. I spent most of the rest of my Sunday recovering, which wasn’t terrible.
But when I set out for my usual run on Monday morning, my body just wasn’t having any of it. I ran for maybe 1.25 miles and then decided to just spend the rest of my pre-work morning going on a nice walk. I felt better on Tuesday, and got in my run and workout, and was slightly tempted to skip my usual rest day on Wednesday. But when my alarm went off Wednesday, after another night of not great sleep, I finally listened to my body and just decided to take the whole damn day off. I went for a walk during my lunch break, did some prenatal yoga after work, and spent pretty much the entire evening in bed.
I can’t say that my sleep truly improved for the rest of the week, but giving myself the mental grace to try to go with the flow and not stress was very helpful. My workouts for the rest of the week felt a lot better, and I finally decided to give a pregnancy pillow a shot. I have to say, I’m not hating it. I’m not sleeping like a normal human being, but I’m also not living like the walking dead. Saturday, after my run and a nap, I actually had the energy to meet up with some friends for dinner at a really fun place that had live music and lots of yard games for the kids. I still got home to my beautiful bed and pregnancy pillow by 10pm!
Overall, I know that the next 10 weeks are probably going to look very different for me. And while I don’t like it, there’s no real point in fighting it. So my workouts might start to look more like walking and nesting than running and lifting. But my plan is to just take each day as it comes. Hopefully.
7 Non Workout Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Training
Whether you’re trying to run an ultramarathon, or compete in strongman lifting, training isn’t just about the hours spent working out. There are so many things outside the gym (or off the trails and roads) that can impact training. And realistically, we have to expect that most weeks, there will be area’s of our lives that are not ideal. Which is fine. But, if you’ve got a big goal to chase, it’s helpful to at least put some effort into trying to make sure you aren’t consistently making these 7 non workout mistakes (to the best of your abilities)
- Ignoring Sleep – The average adult human needs a minimum of 6 hours a night to function optimally. Athletes need even more, because sleep is the time our body repairs and rebuilds itself. And it’s not just the amount of sleep that’s important, but also the quality of sleep. So don’t ignore those recommendations to replace your mattress, and try to create a solid night time routine that is conducive to getting good sleep. It won’t always work (especially if you have young kids), but if you can get enough sleep 80% of the time, that’s a lot better than 30%!
- Living with Stress – Much like sleep, stress isn’t something that most adults can avoid all together. But it is really important to recognize how high levels of consistent stress can slow down recovery. Understanding some of the sources of stress in your life can help you create a plan to manage it. Maybe you need to consistently schedule one 3-4 day weekend a month to manage work stress. Or have one evening of alone time. Or meditate regularly. If you find yourself having a difficult time coming up with ways to reduce and manage your stress, scheduling time to speak with a therapist can help you come up with a workable plan.
- Under-Fueling – Your body can’t rebuild itself if it is constantly on empty. Muscles will not strengthen and in severe cases, under fueling can lead to overuse injuries and significant mental health issues. It’s equally important to have enough knowledge about fueling, as it is to have a strong body image. Looking for some basic tips to help make sure you’re fueling appropriately? Check out my 7 Tips for Fueling for Performance. If you want more individualized feedback, consider reaching out to a sports dietician.
- Poor General Health – Have you ever tried to train through a cold or flu? Chances are, you probably didn’t have great training sessions, and your 2 day virus may have taken a lot longer to recover from. If you’ve got any sort of health issue going on (from amenia to illness autoimmune disorders), it’s so important that you have a team of health providers that you trust to guide you. Which might mean taking time off from intense training to recover (but it might not!) For me. I know that my overall health is somewhat compromised during pregnancy, which means I need to be more flexible and realistic with my goals than other times where my health is not an issue.
- Lack of Mobility – Your body has to be able to move functionally in order to perform optimally. This doesn’t mean you need to have the flexibility of a ballerina, but it does mean you need to spend some time making sure you do things like stretch and foam roll to prevent mobility issues. If you ignore mobility long enough, you’re asking for muscle imbalances and injury down the road. Lately, prenatal yoga has been the ONLY thing keeping my back from full on revolt, and it has given me so much more appreciation for how important mobility is.
- Recovery Weeks – Every single month should include some sort of de-load week where either your intensity or volume (or both) are significantly decreased. This allows the body to recover and keep making progress similar to the way that sleep does. It can be really tempting to want to push yourself at every opportunity, but not allowing some easy weeks in training can actually stall progress and make training a lot more frustrating than it needs to be.
- Neglecting Mental Health – Much like stress, dealing with mental health issues can have direct impacts on the physical body. Athletes suffering from depression or anxiety typically don’t fuel as adequately as their peers, don’t get the same quality sleep, and can have a very negative experience when trying to train on top of all that. In fact, training hard during a period of mental health struggles can lead to compulsive behaviors. While moderate exercise is really beneficial for mental health, intense training can be problematic. If you’re feeling more overwhelmed, lethargic, or notice other changes in your mood, do not hesitate to find a good mental health provider to help you create and implement a plan.
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 36 Miles
Total Workouts: 4
How the Run Felt
This week was sort of all over the place. Once I gave myself the permission to just have two mornings without running, the rest of my week felt a lot better. It was a hard pill for me to swallow that my body now requires a rest day after a longer run, but it’s clear that it does. Sunday and Thursday were particularly difficult runs for me, and I ended up incorporating a lot more walking on both of those days.
We did have a little dip in the temperatures and humidity on both Friday and Saturday. I felt so much better running on both of those mornings than I did during the earlier part of the week. I honestly didn’t know if I was going to get in another double digit run during this pregnancy after Sunday’s long run. But when I walked out and felt the cooler temps and saw the full cloud cover, I rejoiced and really enjoyed my long run more than I have in several weeks.
How the WODs Felt
Thankfully this was a de-load week at the box, which meant the workouts weren’t too intense. Which was exactly what my body needed this week. The lifts were not too taxing, and the cardio wasn’t overwhelming. I actually did Friday’s workout as prescribed, which is the first time I’ve done a workout as prescribed in as long as I can remember. I almost lowered the weight, but I decided I would start the workout and see how it felt, and it felt hard but good!
What I’ve Been Listening
I finally stumbled on a new podcast this week! It’s called Bad, Bad Thing, and it is about a woman who responded to her husbands affair by killing his mistress and then herself. It is incredibly sad, but unique because this woman recorded herself and her thoughts for a long period of time before committing the crime. It’s hard to listen to, but definitely sheds a light on what someone in fractured state of mind experiences.
What Went Well
Finally ordering the maternity pillow made a pretty remarkable difference in my sleep quality.
What Went Shitty
It took half the week for me to recover from my baby shower.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Take every single day as it comes.