Feeling “blah?” Find your Toughness

I pride myself on being a pretty positive person. I make a point to see the good in people, the silver lining, the excitement rather than the fear. I’m also a real person…and a girl. I’m emotional and passionate. A dangerous combination. On most days, I wake up excited and with a plan to live. Maybe that sounds like an exaggeration, but if you know me, you know that as much as I love spontaneity, I also thrive on making some sort of game plan. So, what happens on those days when I wake up feeling like this?

Well, I’m still trying to figure that out.

Training has a lot of ups-and-downs. Great rides, followed by injuries. PRs followed by PWs (personal worsts). Weeks of “Eff yes, I AM A CHAMPION!” followed by days of “is this worth it?”

I recently moved to Denver, a city not only full, but jam-packed with people who share all of my interests: Beer, food, dogs, sunshine, happiness, swimming, biking, running, hiking (not necessarily in that order, but maybe?). I was admittedly a little nervous that I’d be biting off more than I could chew. The big move would mean going from an incredibly flexible schedule of working 15 hours/week, focusing on an increasingly demanding school and a nine-workout-per-week training schedule to throwing a full-time job into the mix. This would have to mean a lot of structure and little free time. Would it be worth it? And, how am I going to handle the “lows?”

bikingAfter two weeks of pure content and bliss, I was convinced I had found the environment in which I would forever flourish. Granted, my schedule was packed to the rim with days of:
– gym
– breakfast
– study
– work
– gym
– dinner
– rinse & repeat

Busy? Heck yes, but I’ve felt fulfilled, have done a ton of exploring and have made new friends. I’ve kept on track with my goals and have continued to have fun. This is the life. 

Then, my 4:45 a.m. alarm clock went off on Tuesday this week and my attitude turned from blissful excitement to…
not today

I felt discouraged and unmotivated, two sentiments I despise. I pushed through my workouts for the week. I slept through my alarms, but squeezed the morning workouts I missed into the evening hours. I struggled through my runs. Then, it was like Armageddon hit. I showed up to spin class AND THE INSTRUCTOR DID NOT SHOW UP. My hands flailed in the air, I cursed the establishment of 24 Hour Fitness, and (after much mental whining) I powered through my own make-shift hour of indoor cycling.

10MTIt’s Saturday morning and as I’m sitting here on the couch watching Law & Order, still trying to muster up a morsel of motivation to finish the week off strong, I realized something: I need to have a plan for days (and weeks) like this.

In training, we have plans for everything else. Plan your route, know what you’re working towards, be prepared for injuries, know how to change that flat tire, etc. But what about your emotional/mental plan? And that’s when I looked over to my nightstand at a book which helped me a lot during my months of training in Phoenix, but has since lied dormant: 10 Minute Toughness.

This is a book that my coach recommended to me at the very start of my training. While much of it is anecdotal filler, the concepts have helped me immensely in my workouts. The 10 MT game plan (a summary of which can be found here) is a strategy to overcome those mental hurdles of self doubt, nervousness and insecurities that we all face through effective goal-setting, visualization and consistency.

Thus far, I’ve implemented the 10 MT routine mainly during my swim workouts. My brother can attest to the awkward “quiet time” I spend sitting at the end of the lap lane between my warm-up and main sets. Hey, sometimes the silliest things reap the biggest rewards.  The swim routine I’ve developed through 10 MT has not only helped me confidently build distance in the lap pool, but it has translated into minutes and self doubt shaved off of my open water swims. It has turned the big scary open water into just another lap lane.

Skimming back through the book this morning, though, I’ve picked up on a theme which I previously overlooked. The benefits of these concepts aren’t limited to sports training, but can be applied to scenarios like business meetings, public speaking, lifestyle changes, or just those daily challenges we all face, like waking up with zero motivation.

So, after all of this rambling, I’m going to step away from my computer, sit down and develop my own 10 MT routine for days and weeks when the stars just don’t seem to align. And then, I’m going to go take on the rest of the day. I encourage you to do the same. Make a routine to help you through something that seems to be challenging you lately. Give it a shot and let me know in a couple weeks if you’ve found it helpful!

pound it

 -Live Every Day –