Friday, June 3, 2011

Enough is Enough

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The lesson I am trying to teach myself today is that it is okay to let yourself off the hook.

I know many of us runners like to push ourselves. We feel like what we do is never enough. We get to the night before a race and ask ourselves, “Was it sufficient? could I have done more?” My guess is that most of us also do this in our everyday lives.

Am I enough? Could I be a better parent, employee, daughter, student, husband? We beat ourselves up. Well, maybe you don’t, but I do.

We need the reminder that we should always do our best (aka shut up and run), but know when enough is enough.

We are not perfect. Actually, no one we know is perfect even though it might seem that way. Comparing ourselves to others is fruitless and only brings more anxiety and angst.

I ran a tough 10K on Monday, trained hard all week and ran ten miles yesterday. I have a sprint tri on Sunday. Two races in one week is a lot for me.

I woke up this morning thinking I should get up for some hot yoga, but laid in bed watching the clock turnover from 6:00 to 6:01 and knew I would miss my class. When the time read 7:00 a.m.,  I made the decision to rest today. And tomorrow. I want fresh legs for Sunday’s race. This half ironman training has been physically demanding. It has also made life that much busier. It’s true I will not meet goal for number of training hours this week. So be it.

This morning at 7:00 a.m. I let myself off the hook. My body wanted to rest. And so, I let it. I stayed in bed until 8:00 a.m., something I never do. I took my time making the coffee and my waffle sandwich. I glanced at the paper and lazily shot the shit with my kids while they ate.

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Oh for god’s sake, I told myself. It’s not like you’re some pro athlete or anything. Get over yourself. Remember to find balance. Remember how you’ve gotten injured before and don’t want to be there again. Listen to your body and respond kindly. Work hard, but know when enough is enough. Have fun with your training, don’t make it the enemy or the obligation.

Do you overachieve? How do you keep yourself in check?

SUAR

43 comments:

  1. even if you were (are?) a pro athlete, even the Elite deserve a rest! Good for you for listening to your body and reminding your readers that you are human.

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  2. You have learned well, grasshopper.

    I rarely overachieve... anymore ;-) I do beat myself up about parenting mistakes and sometimes time-wastages... but no longer about taking a break.

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  3. You're totally playing possum in that picture on the couch.

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  4. Thanks for this. I know no one reads my blog but I posted on something very similar to last week, calling it the Perfection Hook. And it sucks. To hear about it from someone like you makes me feel a lot better because you're so damn kickass. I don't overachieve, I just berate myself for not trying to achieve at all. I have an advanced degree in half-assery because I'm convinced that no matter how hard I try it will never be enough so why try at all? Sad. I'm working on it. Kudos to you for listening to what you need.

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  5. Unfortunately, I've never lived up to my potential.

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  6. This post is totally what I'm feeling right now. I had a tough training week because I went on a long hike on Monday and decided to run/sprint the last 3 miles and my body has been tired all week. I got through all my workouts, but tonight I was supposed to do a bike ride after work today (even though I have worked out today) and I cancelled because I am dragging.
    "get over yourself" is just what I needed to hear!

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  7. amen to that!!! we all need to give ourselves a pat on the back for all that has accomplished and give ourselves a break! So...what goes in your waffle sandwich

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  8. Listening to your body is always the best thing!

    I love that feeling at the end of a busy productive day. The feeling of real physical tireness. Not the usual, I'm tired from my mental challenges at work tiredness but honest I-busted-my-a**-running-and-physically-working kind of tiredness. However too many days of that kind of tiredness in a row can lead to the body screaming for a break. This week I gave in a little more than usual too. So the next time I get to feel that great honest tiredness feeling, I will appreaciate it sooo much more!

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  9. Overachieveing is what landed me an injury for 2 years, one solid year of sheer pain.

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  10. ahhh yes I know this very well. I think the hardest thing to learn as a runner/athlete is when you truly NEED the rest and when to push through. Last week I really just did NOT want to run, so I listened and I didn't and the world didn't end because of it. It's good to give in every so often. Good luck this weekend!

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  11. Needed to hear this today. Good luck on Sunday!

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  12. Wow! This is just what I needed to hear this week! 20+ days without a rest day - and I couldn't figure out why I was cracking... Now if I can remember for next time!

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  13. We do a LOT so we can definitely afford to take an 'unplanned' rest day when needed. Sounds like you definitely made the smart choice today!

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  14. Folks--you NEED rest days. Don't be silly...20+days without a rest day? I guess I'm an underachiever. At the end of half-ironman training coming up on a race day, I'm BEGGING my coach for rest days. PUUULLLLEASE, Coach. :-)

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  15. I had a lot of rest days this week--minor injury that I know that I could blast through but would regret later on. So tomorrow I won't be running that 20K either. That's life and I need to chill.

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  16. I still haven't found balance. I'll get there.

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  17. i try to listen to my body and there are those days were i just close my eyes for a good 20 to 30 minutes.

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  18. @Rick. No, I was totally OUT. Even missed my 10am appt.

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  19. I keep myself in check by knowing that I am doing to rest on Friday. I also know that on Saturday and Sunday after my training I am done. I push myself to get up early, get it done properly and then enjoy the rest of the day and let training go from my mind.

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  20. There are a handful of professional athletes out there and training is essentially a big part of their job. For the rest of us, training is something we do with our discretionary time. It is something we do during the time we have left after fulfilling our life responsibilities and commitments. Within certain constraints such as financial, legal, moral or whatever, we should be able to do whatever we want during our discretionary time.

    When training starts to feel like work or a second job and is no longer fun, it is time to think about balance. The key is to enjoy how you are spending your discretionary time. Hard workouts are fine, as long as you are enjoying them. Remember, when the fun stops, you need to consider calling 1-800-Im-an-addict.

    The best training plans are flexible and allow for plenty of rest days right along with hard, medium and easy training days. When it comes time for a day off, you should expect it and it should not be a surprise. It is all part of the plan to OPTIMIZE your performance, taking days off are just as important and valuable as hard training days.

    When your body and mind tell you it is time for a break, then it is time for a break. If your training plan does not allow for it, then it is a poor plan and it is time to re-evaluate it.

    Without taking breaks, burnout and injury are unavoidable. Like it or not, breaks are an important part of training.

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  21. I could have written that! I am in your same shoes! I am wanting that one day off so badly! I haven't broken yet. Soon though! I'm exhausted!

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  22. YAY for you! I too am learning it really is ok to just.. be!!!!! Best of luck this weekend!

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  23. amen sista! love the "get over yourself" part. sometimes i get down on myself for taking rest days - who do i think i am, kara goucher?! who cares if i take a rest day or not, i need to get over it!

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  24. There must be something in the air, because I essentially had the same morning...though I think I was a little harder on myself. This is a good reminder to listen to the body and not take ourselves too seriously. Hope you enjoyed today and have something relaxing planned for tomorrow.
    Good luck on Sunday.

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  25. I'm not really an overachiever then it comes to fitness. Kids birthday parties, though - that's another story. :)

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  26. OOh!! Good post Beth! So glad you let yourself off the hook for the day. You DESERVE it! Big week!! I have BIG time struggles with this, not so much because I don't like to have a day off but in the past I've been under the assumption that after 24 hours off I am back to a 15 minute mile.....I ended up taking 2 consecutive rest days this week which I never do and this was going to be a HARD week before taper. My body said stop and for ONCE, I listened. Not only listened, but mentally embraced what the rest was doing for my body. You are SO right, balance is necessary! Having fun with training so important if it is to be a lifetime thing! Happy you had a lazy day!

    I'm excited for you this weekend! Max made you a sign! Go hard, have fun:)

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  27. REST days are a must.. but they are so HARD to do. I can tell when I do to much. If I don't take a rest day then it catches up to me and Im down for days and I regret it. YAY you for your rest day!

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  28. Rest days are actually part of the training I would think? How can you be "on" if you're never "off"?

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  29. Great reminder! I beat myself up today after a bad run, but really, there is always tomorrow! :) How can I purchase SUAR gear by the way? I'm running my first half marathon in a few weeks and would love to sport your stuff!

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  30. You're spot on. We have to rest when our bodies need it. I've had the whole week off because of sickness and I'm just starting to feel like I could maybe run in the next day or so. If I'd run any earlier it would have been a total debacle and could have made me worse.
    Good luck with your tri.

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  31. Great post! I really struggle to take rest days and have found that I need to keep myself busy on my off days in order to stop feeling so guilty. It doesn't help that I seem to see runners EVERYWHERE when I let myself off the hook for a day. It does help to look up the scientific reasoning behind why it's so important to give your body a regular day off!

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  32. I've never ONCE thought I could be a better husband. :D

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  33. Good for you for listening to your body and taking a break. Good luck Sunday!!

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  34. Amen. I actually had a total me day yesterday and it was TOUGH to not feel bad about not getting the cleaning done, or catch up on gardening etc.
    I did my run in...but I just ran, not freaked out about going as far as I thought I should..

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  35. I'm struggling with this today! There's just not any room in my schedule for a workout and for some reason it's really bringing me down. I need to snap out of it! Glad you took the time off!

    I read that book, btw. Prepare to break out the hankies at the end.

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  36. Thank you for sharing.... I should have read this sooner because I woke up feeling not great but decided to go do my long run anyway to "sweat it out"...10 miles later I have a fever and freaking full on sick. Ha ha I am an idiot. Will follow this wise advice from now on.

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  37. "We are not perfect"....what's this "we" stuff. I guess you forgot about moi. Who are you and what have you done with SUAR?

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  38. I agree with you.

    I tend to not let myself off the hook. Sometimes I let myself partway off the hook, like yesterday I slept in and ran on my treadmill instead of waking up earlier to go the gym and do the more complete workout.

    BTW, you asked around April Fools Day what was a good April Fools joke we played on someone. Well, I didn't have much of an answer then, but my latest blog post changes that.

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  39. A perfect post! Perfect timing. Yes - I'm an over achiever. Isn't that what defines approximately 80% of runners? It's never enough. Whether that be training for a running event (and I'm not even an elite runner- maybe "neighborhood competitive" defines me), or work related, there is never enough hours in the day to do all that my mind believes should be done. It's tough. It's very difficult to let yourself off the hook but sometimes, in order to achieve, to make progress, taking time to reflect and relax is the perfect way to move forward.
    As I said, this was a perfectly defined post as I sit here beating myself up for finding every excuse in the book not to run a 5K race tonight at 6:15 pm. It's only a 5K! - but I'm tired and just plain don't want to do it. Guilt-Guilt-Guilt. I'll run 10 miles tomorrow and hopefully feel better.

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  40. I am a ridiculous overachiever - and I'm just as ridiculous at beating myself up. This post came just in time for me.

    This past Saturday (Memorial Day Weekend Saturday) I ran my VERY FIRST 18-miler - I'm running a marathon in 35 days (YIKES), also my first marathon. Then I partied it up, then I ran a 5k on Sunday, then I partied it up.

    Long story short - I wore myself DOWN. I have worked out exactly once this week, and it was a sad excuse for a speed run at 3.29 miles.

    Now, I'm sick, and I'm sitting in my living room reading blogs on a Saturday night instead of having fun.

    My lesson learned: Don't party all weekend after a super long run, rest is mucho importante.

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  41. I am definitely an "overachiever" of sorts when it comes to training and just running in general. Heck! Even the doctor told me my body is an overachiever this weekend. They were hoping to retrieve 12 healthy, mature eggs from my fertile myrtle ovaries, but they retrieved a whopping 27! Can you believe that sh*t?
    I am told I can not run (for the 2nd week now!) and let me tell you, it's driving me INSANE! I feel so lazy!

    I see you're reading Firefly Lane. Be prepared for some tearsies at the end....

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