When athletes get derailed in their training, the first thing I do as their coach is ask why. Invariably, this leads to my “reasons versus excuses” conversations. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to miss a few days of training, but what happens when it becomes a pattern? Why do these obstacles keep getting in the way? Most importantly, are these distractions legitimate reasons or self-sabotaging excuses disguised as reasons?
Last week, Lorraine’s life was packed full of drama, work travel, tragedy, and weather disruptions. In the past, any one of these would have derailed her training plans in a heartbeat. They all would’ve become legitimate reasons in her mind to skip those workouts. What happened last week, however, surprised even Lorraine as she continues her journey to find her “new normal.”
Here, in her own words, Lorraine shares her story:
My granny died and I fell out of an 18 wheeler…It sounds like a country song, but it’s just a snapshot of my memorable life last week! I was planning to go to Saint Louis for work, so I was already stressed about work travel and how that was going to throw a wrench into my workout plans. Then, I found out from my Dad that my Granny had passed away and I was to meet a cousin and tell him the news.
Monday – I did my run in the wee hours of the morning. As soon as I got home, I got that call about Granny passing away and also found out that my long-lost cousin who is a truck driver was in my neck of the woods. I had to go break the news to him on my way to work, which was a little weird since he and I had actually never met in person before. During the course of our introduction, he invited me to hop in his new truck to check it out. Mind you, I’m on my way to work and I’m in a skirt and heels. I’ve never been in a big truck before and I probably won’t ever try that again! Let’s just say that dangling from the steering wheel of an 18-wheeler is a really great upper body work out!
Tuesday – I headed to the airport at 4:30 am. Tuesdays are usually Zumba days, but it was going to be rest/travel day this week. I arrived in St. Louis and had meetings from 10 a.m. until I left for dinner at 6:30 p.m. I met with some of my favorite clients over a very heavy steak dinner and funny conversation. During this meal, I realized how tired I was, and I knew that I would not work out in the morning unless I took drastic measures. So, I spilled the beans! I told these fitness buffs about my cancer, about the Turkey Trot contest and announced that I would be running the following morning! I was nervous as heck, but I knew that if I didn’t speak tomorrow into existence, there was no way I was going to get up and run. These guys were the best cheerleaders I could have hoped for. They listened to my story and not only did they not laugh at me, they actively encouraged me and were excited about my journey! I felt so supported and loved! It’s crazy that these little things can help you turn off the negative thoughts and, as you can imagine, it helped to wake me up the next day.
Wednesday – Another obstacle. I woke up to the sound of cold rain on my windows. Can you imagine? Any other time, I would’ve just thrown in the towel. I was talking on conference calls at 7 a.m. with the curtains open, sitting in my cozy hotel room, and thinking about what I was going to wear to the funeral the next day. Normally, this would have stopped me. But, I guess I have a new normal. I went out after that call and I ran in the rain!!!!!! (Yes, there are that many exclamation points!) What the heck? Did you read that right? I RAN IN THE RAIN, ON A BUSINESS TRIP, IN A STRANGE CITY… WHO IS THIS GIRL? I just told myself that it might rain on Thanksgiving morning in Austin. I might as well practice in all kinds of conditions. (And also, I didn’t want to tell those guys that I didn’t actually do it!) While I was running, I was really happy and that fueled me even more. It was probably the easiest run I’ve done so far. I’m not sure if it’s because I was so positive about my choices, or if it was because I didn’t have my wife beside me forcing me to go faster! (hahaha) Either way, it was a great feeling.
Thursday and Friday – Thursday was a scheduled rest day and Friday was a travel day back to Boston. I can’t believe how tired I was from the week’s events.
Saturday and Sunday – Because I took Friday off, I ran on Saturday and did the elliptical machine on Sunday. Coach Carrie and I talked about my crazy week on Saturday afternoon. I’ve been experiencing some slight discomfort in my knee on the same leg as my bone cancer surgery, so we discussed options and alternatives to running: adding more frequent walk breaks, beginning a dynamic stretching/foam rolling routine, and using the elliptical on certain workouts. As she said, “Your heart doesn’t know whether you’re running on pavement or on the elliptical, it just knows it’s working.” I’ll admit, those two workouts were tough and it feels like I paid for my two day break, but I definitely consider this week a HUGE VICTORY.
The main take-away from this week? Work travel has always been a diet and exercise derailment for me. I get too busy with meetings, dinners, and exhaustion to take care of myself. But, those old days are done. I officially can’t use business travel, death, 18-wheeler mishaps, or weather as excuses not to exercise. I have already overcome those! They can’t stop me! And you know what? That is solid evidence that I am changing. I am becoming that fantasy girl who just can’t miss a workout or she will get crabby! Okay, it hasn’t got that extreme yet, but I can’t wait to meet her!
Coach Carrie Takeaways:
1) If you know you have a crazy day ahead, get your workout done early! Your body and mind will thank you.
2) Share your goals with others. There, you will find comfort, support and encouragement.
3) Give yourself rest breaks if you need them, but don’t allow it to derail your entire plan.
4) Train in different conditions since you never know what race day will be like.
5) Celebrate your victories and recognize the progress along the way.