Monday, 10 November 2014

Can I Be Weak?

I won't lie. There's no point, and regular readers have probably noticed anyway. I've been struggling with my training. Dark nights, wet weather, illness... all conspire to sap my motivation and turn determination into despair. It's not long until my first ultra and I know I'm not as prepared as I need or want to be.

My self motivation has been petering out and getting past that has been really tough. I found myself being a little hesitant to ask for help and support in the usual places. As a Personal Trainer and coach it's part of my job to encourage and motivate others. Surely I should be able to do that for myself as well? Can I still be credible if I need to ask for help and support from my friends and social media? A piece of me doesn't feel as though I can admit to this sort of weakness on such a public platform any more. I should be demonstrating enthusiasm, eagerness and strength at all times.

But in reality I am only human and subject to the same barriers as any client I may have. By recognising that I'm struggling, identifying my barriers and the sorts of help I need, I am demonstrating a strength. So what's going on and how am I going to deal with it?

Running Alone: It's easier to make excuses to yourself than someone else and sometimes running alone is just plain boring. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and go to whatever running club sessions I can that fit with my training plan, just for variety. I know a couple of people at work who could be persuaded to go out for shorter runs at lunchtime. I can badger local people on twitter a bit more and make more use of the RMR group on Facebook to find running buddies.

Time Management: I have a goal and a focus. But there are lots of other things happening in my life right now that threaten to take over. I already try and put my runs into my diary as appointments but it's not fail safe. There's not enough time to put more structured training in place for Gatliff but I can take the lessons learned from this into the next plan. I will have less runs but better quality sessions, targeted strength training and recovery. I will set expectations with friends and family more strongly.

Illness: Not much to be done about this one. Allow time to recover. Pick up where I left off and don't try to cram in missed sessions.

Nerves: I'll get round it, through sheer determination, by repeating the Team Bear motto (suffer but NEVER surrender) and by thinking about my Aunt who was so brave, supportive and strong.

Even writing this down has immediately made me feel more positive about the few weeks of training I have left, and also about my next training phase. If you or someone you know is also struggling, try making a list of issues and solutions. It could be extremely helpful.

Do you have any other tips for overcoming bad patches in training?

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