The Highs and Lows of Training: Staying positive when times get tough! Coach Rebecca
Mama said there would be days like this. Training has so many highs and lows. Running in particular, I find, has the most high and low swings. There are days when its all pure flow…the endorphins are rolling, the body is moving fast, light and free, time passes by, unknowingly, and the world is a beautiful place. There are other days when the body and mind feel off…easy pace can feel like a struggle and the clock seems not to tick. Each scenario teaches us something as runners. Its important that we listen and learn from the experience.
Sometimes there are chunks of time when running just doesn’t feel good at all. I’ve had stretches lasting for months post-marathon, where the runs were just not “clicking.” I do attribute some of this to the training method. Since I started heart rate training, my race recovery has been much smoother, especially post-marathon.
There are also tough training runs, and sometimes it seems to happen for no apparent reason. Nutrition is right, scheduling is right, sleep is right…but sometimes there are just hard days. Getting through these runs takes a strong will. Remember these runs as confidence builders, the same way you remember the really great ones. It takes courage to keep going when times are tough.
Recovering from injury can be another, very difficult challenge. I encourage all runners to bike and swim. Not only will cycling and swimming maintain fitness, but provide endorphins. Some runners, including myself, do not mentally handle injury well. Being able to swim and bike are sanity saving. When coming back to running from an injury, the highs and lows begin again. On one hand, being able to run again is a happy thing. On the other hand, there are lows when you realize you aren’t going to just “pick up where you left off.” The body needs time to rebuild. This can be very discouraging. Maintaining close contact with your coach and teammates is invaluable during this period. Chances are, someone else has gone through something similar, and can provide much needed encouragement and advice. Sometimes is just a matter of talking it out with an understanding, listening ear.
Endurance events are interesting animals. Some races leave us happy and full of ideas for future races and training. But there are times when there is a post-race let down. Both in mind and in body. Whether coming back from injury, a hard day, or post-race blues, it is important to give yourself time to process what is happening. Take time to feel sad, or feel the loss of yourself when you were “at the top of the your game.” It doesn’t mean you are weak and it is not a character flaw. Acknowledge it, process it, talk it out, then you can better move forward. Body and mind will heal. It doesn’t generally happen overnight, and there may be some pains in the process, but staying positive will assure success. Athletes are a strong-willed group.
Yes, mama said there will be days like this. But with the lows, come the highs. There will be victory, and there will be defeat. It is all part of the sport, and we all go through it at some point. What is important is to never forget…you are an athlete. You are strong, focused, and capable of incredible achievements.
Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun.