Monday, May 16, 2011

Training when you really don't want to!

I am currently in “maintanence mode” for the next 2 months until real training for the 100 miler begins.  This may sound like recovery or a laid back program but when staying in shape to begin training for something of this magnitude, even maintenance can be pretty tough and high volume compared an average runners program.  My weekly totals of running are ranging between 300-500 minutes (approx 30-50 miles on the trails) and my long runs the past few weeks have ranged from a quick 120 minutes before an early baseball game to 240 minutes of really, really fun and challenging running/hiking on the Appalachian Trail (more chapters will be written about training up there for sure)!

A big surprise to friends, training clients, training partners is that getting up to run or workout is not always easy for me.  Most people I coach will invariably throw back at me (usually when I am giving them a tough time for missing a workout) that “this is easy for you, you love getting up before dawn to workout”.  This is not necessarily true, at least not all the time.  I get up most days of the week at 4:30am and either run, do recovery cardio or lift weights with a club member/training client.  Every day, and I mean every day, I hit the snooze (at least once) and have a small conversation with myself about getting up.  Usually it goes like this (on the weekends, especially if I am meeting a friend to run, I usually don’t have as much of a discussion – when I race there is no discussion at all, I am up before my alarm goes off 99% of the time!): 

  1. “Wow, I am tired.  I wonder if I can get one of my team members to cover my training session”.  Or “I can always do this training session later today (this one I KNOW never works but sometimes, when I am really tired, I do the definition of insanity and try to do it)”.
  2. “Nope, can’t do that, it would be irresponsible and I would lose income that my family needs” or “you know better, you will NEVER workout tonight”.
  3. “Besides, I know I will feel better all day if I do get up and work out”.
  4. “Let me just hit the snooze one more time”.
  5. “Ok, I am up, thank you Lord for this day, giving me my health, the ability to get up so early, that I have a reason to get up and let me be the best version of myself today.  Let me be open to the path that you put forth for me today”. 

Today was a perfect example.  I went out on a very nice “date” with my wife last night.  We went to a movie place that serves food and alcohol.  My wife was driving so I decided to have a few drinks and didn’t eat much for dinner.  Didn’t get to sleep until about 12 midnight and the alarm went off at 4:30am for a 5:15am training session at the club.  My first thought was “wow, I am tired and a bit hungover and dehydrated – I feel like I just fell asleep 4.5 hours ago”.  My conversation went on like this:  “You KNOW for a fact that if you get up, train your client and then go for a run you will feel physically great, have a productive and peaceful day and, most importantly, do the things that God put you on this earth to do.  So get your ass up!”

Now, after I was done training my client, it was 6:15am and I had a break so I could get my run in.  I had decided to do my long run today as I will be in NY with my daughter this weekend and don’t want to spend too much time away from her doing my training.  I really did not want to go running, my body and mind were tired, I was not motivated and, did I mention, I was a bit hungover and dehydrated?  What do you do when you don’t want to work out? 

This is what I suggest to clients and friends so I decided to apply my advice to myself.  Just tell yourself you will go out for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever amount of time feels “easy to accomplish” for you and don’t have high expectations for the workout.  Also, remind yourself how great you will feel, both physically and psychologically after you are done, even if you only complete a small % of your planned workout (instead of blowing it off).  So, I headed out the door with enough food and water (and some cash in case a miracle happened and I stayed out longer than planned) to run long but with the “permission” to cut it short if my body did not respond well to the warm up portion of the run.  Heading out, again, I felt like crap.  My body was sore, my mind was not into it and I assumed I would be back in 30 minutes (my original planned run was 12 miles, 6 road and 6 trail, about 2 hours).

Guess what?  20 minutes into the run I was in a great mood, no longer tired and my body felt great (this happens to me and everyone I know about 90% of the time if you just force yourself to go out for a “little bit” – I used to do this with swimming all the time cause I disliked it so much)!  I ended up going 3 hours (I won’t lie, the last 30 minutes were really tough due to the dehydration) and about 17 miles and I felt awesome the rest of the day!

One of those lessons you have to “learn” over and over, sometimes the Nike Ad really is correct.  Don’t think about it to much, “Just Do It”.