That time of the year is here. Cabin fever is consuming my mind. All I can think about is the desire to be outside in temperatures above freezing. To inhale the delightful smell of spring in the air. To see little bits of green poking through the ground. I am not a cold weather hater, But eventually it does have a tendency to loose its luster.
I am experiencing motivation meltdown in a big way!!!
Never Ending Winter Wonderland
The endless days of waking up to a snow covered world is starting to take its usual tole. I dream of the races that lay ahead and freak out when I look at the calendar. Only two months to my first scheduled half marathon!
Scrolling through Facebook, I am bombarded with photos of family and friends back “home” in Indiana basking in the springlike weather. The kids are running around outside, as if taunting, “Look at us! Playing outside in jackets! Not a flake of snow to be found! It’s too bad you cannot join us!”
Then I look outside my window only to be greeted by a less than stellar picture.
While the sun is brightly shining, causing the snow to shimmer, I am reminded once again, Sunday’s long run will NOT be outside. In turn, the treadmill will be my source of running for an hour plus. I will have to stare at the same white scene longer than I care to think about.
Next comes the crazy notion of moving to a more favorable climate. One with shorter winter. Again, I am not a snow hater, but it should only be allowed to fall December and January.
With the days in creep along mode, the idea of winter ending comes across as a fantasy…a distant dream. Brings memories of Bambi’s first experience with the long, cold winter months, “Winter sure is long, isn’t it mother?”
Motivation meltdown rears its ugly head!
Recovering From a Cold
Recently, I contracted a nasty sickness. Although, I did not go to the doctor, I am sure it was some version of the flu. I felt achy all over, chills came and went for a couple days, and the urge to constantly sleep kept me from daily duties.
My first reaction was to get over this and get back on my training schedule as quickly as possible. So, I took aspirin, slept as much as a mom can, and hoped for a fast recovery. After all, I only had a couple days until the weekend would arrive.
On long run Sunday, I completed my scheduled hour on the treadmill. I decided not to push myself too hard and did an easy pace. Sunday’s are typically packed with a plethora of activities; church, open skate, horse time, and last minute errands. Reserving my strength to complete this list was paramount.
I came home that evening exhausted and woke up Monday morning feeling worse than before.
It was time to do things a bit different. I took the week off from training. Time at the barn with the horses was limited. Resting my body and mind became my primary focus. Well, that and caring for my family.
After a week of taking it easy, I finally felt back to my healthy self. Only the challenge of regaining motivation remained. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to continue training. Training is one of my life driving forces. I felt afraid – afraid of getting sick again. Or perhaps I enjoyed the break too much. The extra freedom in my food and beverage choices, as well as, couch potato time was a nice change.
Whatever the reason, getting back on the treadmill, even for three short miles took every ounce of will power I could muster.
I had motivation meltdown…bad!
Sometimes life “blesses” us with difficult seasons. Trials that leave us questioning so much about ourselves and past decisions. My tribulation continues to be in full force. Keeping my mind focused and positive is a daily struggle. Stress levels are pretty high. Thus, despite upcoming race obligations, training becomes the last thing on my list.
Breakthrough…hello…are you there?
This last year and a half has added an unusual dynamic to Brinkerhoff family life. Although we are still living in the United States, I am experiencing a weird type of culture shock. Moving out West is proving more difficult than I thought it would be. Let’s just say, it is one thing to visit a place and another to live there.
Two of the biggest struggles right now are cost of living and isolation. The dollar definitely does not stretch as far here. Furthermore, I love when the locals act like driving two hours or 140 miles to the mall is no big deal. YES, IT IS A BIG DEAL!
How does this correlate to exercise and training?
Circumstances are causing me to become stressed and slightly depressed. There is a lot going on at home, which is KILLING my motivation. Big decisions need to be made these upcoming months. That coupled with the need to bring in more income is consuming my thoughts and energy.
True, science has proven that exercising often reduces stress and I do not disagree. What I am speaking of is the will power to get the run started. Because as we all know, once started it is nothing but joy. Followed by an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
My list of to dos and what to dos is catapulting me into motivation meltdown…fast!
Now that some possible causes of motivation meltdown have been identified, what do you do next?
Unfortunately, for the majority, winter is what it is. So, as the snow plagues the ground, perhaps it would help to focus more on cross training. Certain activities are easier to complete indoors. Swimming has become my cross training sports of choice. For me doing laps indoors is a wonderful break from miles on the treadmill. Also during winter months, I often increase the number of days I spend in the pool from two to three plus.
Another benefit, although I have yet to try, is water running. By wearing the proper flotation device, it is possible to run back and forth in the pool’s deep end. I was warned it takes a bit of work to master the proper body position/form. But this can be a very effective training tool.
In regards to colds and stress, I have learned more than anything, listen to your body…not feelings, but your body. Many times the body knows best and can keep you from runner burnout. Overcoming feelings is a whole other ball game. What I am referring to are those moments when your body is screaming break time or else!
The goal is to overcome motivation meltdown. Tackle those workouts with gusto and finish with flying colors.
Until next time…Happy Running!!!