Saturday, July 07, 2007

Stop

I'm feeling a bit more positive about things today, and have binned the utterly negative post that I was writing on Thursday, but still I'm starting to have a nagging feeling that maybe it's time to take a long hard look at what I'm doing to myself and try to draw a line under it.

Quite simply, I'm not sure if what I'm doing is healthy any more. Maybe I've started to go past the point where it's nice to be fit, and be able to run, and swim, and cycle, to a point where I'm making myself do more than I should be doing, and making myself ill.

I'm constantly tired. But I still try to think of more ways to sneak in exercise, and to increase my mileage. Maybe the real reason for the laziness I alluded to in my last post isn't a natural thing, but a sign that I simply don't have the energy to do anything other than sit motionless on the sofa once I've got all my exercise done. Actually, it's not just a sofa thing. Sometimes I sit motionless at my desk at work too, unable to summon up the energy to pick up a pen or write an email, just trying hard to keep my eyes open so nobody notices how tired I am. on ThursdayI wasn't sure that I had the energy to cycle home at the end of the day. On Wednesday I gave up a run after 3 miles because I didn't feel like I could carry on. On Monday I made it to 11 miles but felt awful for the last 2 or 3. (Yesterday I did 5 without a problem though, so it's not all bad).

Maybe it's just a bug, but I just get this nagging feeling that being active and healthy and eating well is meant to make me feel energised and bouncy, not like I'm constantly trying to recover from one workout before heading straight into the next. The hours I spend exercising are expanding at a rapid rate, and squeezing everything else apart from sleep and work out of my life.

I think the time has come to say stop, and to redress the balance a little. I don't want to get to obsessed by exercise, to the detriment of other things.

It scares me. I know that if I do what I'm doing now I can maintain my weight loss. I'm actually still losing, albeit at a very slow rate - and finally hit 148 yesterday. That should have been a cause of celebration - 8 stone lost - but I actually started wondering whether I actually need to be that thin. I could gain 20lb before being classed as overweight based on my BMI, so why kill myself to stay in the 140s?. But if I allow myself to relax a bit, would I be able to stop myself relaxing too much?

I also find it hard to aim for anything other than longer and faster when I'm training for a race. And I worry that if I train less my performances will slip away. I set myself targets, and I have a tendency to get too caught up in trying to achieve them rather than running according to how I feel. If I cut a run short because I feel rubbish, it's a struggle for me to think of anything other than how to make those lost miles up elsewhere, rather than thinking about what I need to do to feel better next time I run.

How do I stop myself pushing so hard? I'm not sure. Maybe being aware of the problem is the first step, even if it takes me a while to reprogramme my brain to actually act on that awareness.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

I only have empathy and no answers. I am a lot less exercised obsessed than I was, but it makes me feel guilty, so I think the level of obsession is the same- the motivation and the energy just aren't.

But I think you need to stop, given how you're feeling. You're young (I am too, so I don't intend that to sound patronising!). Enjoy the weight loss! I found that more "fun" workouts (whether dance, hiking, kayaking, swimming) help me with being active, healthy and happy, rather than drained and focussed.

Or you could take the same focussed approach to your *life* as you do to workouts. Make plans to make plans!

8:34 AM  
Blogger kathrynoh said...

Definitely sounds like burn out. Remember rest days help you recover so that you can perform better on the days you do run so they are as important as training.

I'm terrible myself at taking time off - like one day of not exercising is going to lead to a huge slide back into obesity. I'm trying to get my head into thinking I can either take time off sensibly or else I'll be forced to have a more protracted rest through illness or injury. That tends to be the payoff.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Sarah & Graham's Big Adventure said...

It's called overtraining - I have a tendency to do the same thing myself...

http://www.pfitzinger.com/labreports/detecting.shtml

Can you take a few days out of each week and not do any cardio but just do weight training? (Plus a complete rest day of course.)

I started with a new trainer 2 weeks ago and I'm lifting 3 days a week and doing HIIT runs 2 days in the morning plus a spin class in the evening. 1 day I only am hour's spin class and then have one complete rest day. (And I'm actually hiding the fact that I'm doing the spin classes from the trainer as I'm really only supposed to be doing 3 HIIT runs a week for cardio right now. Geez, secret exercising, I just realized how weird that is!)

This schedule is WAY less cardio than I was doing before (6 days a week, most days morning and evening plus weight training 5 of those days after my morning run) and I can't believe how much better my performance has become in just 2 weeks. I can get my heart rate higher and my legs aren't tired all the time...

Psychologically it's quite hard - as Kathrynoh said - feels like I'm going to gain weight just from one day off...

BTW - you mentioned a good salad bar in another entry - what restaurant was that? (I'm in Leeds)

8:55 PM  
Blogger t__m__i said...

You're not alone - most of us find out only by trial and error that we've gone over our (current) limit for how much we can do in a week.
Cycling to work is a classic last-straw because, well, it's just going to work, isn't it, so it doesn't register in the same way as taking an extra couple of spinning classes a week might!

Stop is such a scary word but words like "review" and "rebalance" just sound annoying and b/s-y ;). Nonetheless the point being, if you timetabled your "exercise week" you might find that the cycling tipped it over one of the magic limits, whether that be "only add 10% per week" or the "drop back every 3rd week" or the plain old "FFS don't end up on the bench like us!" rule.

If, when you tot stuff up, it seems not a bad idea to mix in some less intense stuff, I find stuff that's good for mood works best. Yoga (if the teacher's not daft), weight training (has much the same calming effect in fact), or something entirely new like rock climbing to keep the mind awake.

But steer clear of football (prolly rugby too, sorry) - great fun but too darn easy to get b0rked and mess up running for months or more. Specially if you are so crap that you try to kick the ball, miss and kick the floor instead, and sprain your foot.

er...

11:19 PM  

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