Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why You Might Be Tired and 6 Steps To The Best Salad

Confession: My runs have been horrible this week.

I have run three times (so far). The first was a 6.5 miles with 4-one mile repeats It sucked balls because I had nothing to give and it was miserable. The second run was a 6 mile trail run. Every step felt rough. The only good part was the scenery.

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Today’s run was 8 miles. I had stomach cramps almost the whole time and took 2 pits stops (my polite way of saying “craps”).

I feel exhausted this week. Like the kind of tired that you feel in every cell of your body. The kind of tired where you are certain you have some disease and you Web MD “fatigue” and learn that indeed you do have either diabetes, a thyroid condition, heart disease or the big one – Ebola . Or, maybe you have just been trying to pack too much into your life (I don’t think I told you this, but I now have SIX jobs and a new exchange student – who loves to make Rice Crispy Treats!).

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Today I came home from the run suck-fest and made a super salad because this is what you are supposed to do to be healthy. I am not a recipe inventor or food photographer, but  I did create this today.

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You may be wondering how you too can have such an amazing salad.

1. Take a chipped bowl that you have had for 15 years.
2. Layer bottom of bowl with leftover spinach salad.
3. Top with roasted vegetables from yesterday’s lunch and chicken orzo from last night’s dinner.
4. Throw on some feta cheese and avocado.
5. Top with ranch dressing.
6. Make sure a spinach leaf is trying to escape from the bowl.

I am still tired after the salad and think it is because I need some chocolate cake to balance out the healthy salad. I just happen to have some around. Costco rules.

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One of my points of this post (and I just realized it) is that when we have an “off” week where we are more tired, irritable, bitchy than normal it doesn't necessarily mean we are physically tired. Mental fatigue can actually cause significant perceived physical fatigue.

Research shows that a while our hearts and muscles may not perform differently when we are psychologically fatigued, we feel as though we are more tired when we physical exert ourselves.

“Researchers found performance of a mentally fatiguing task prior to a difficult exercise test caused participants to reach exhaustion more quickly than when they did the same exercise when mentally rested.” {source}

Two other fascinating things to note about how mental fatigue can affect our running:

  • Mental fatigue causes us to want to quit more quickly
  • Mental fatigue affects dopamine, a brain chemical that plays a role in motivation and effort

So, if you are feeling especially and unusually tired during your runs, do an inventory of your mental state. Then just shut up and run anyway.

How have your runs felt this week?

What ingredients are in your favorite salad? I love spinach, blue cheese, edamame, avocado, sunflower seeds. To name a few.

 

SUAR

29 comments:

  1. I definitely believe that our psychological state can affect our performance. One reason (for me) that I know this happens is because I know my diet is not wonderful when I'm stressed out....And then my runs start sucking which make me more bummed out and it's really a vicious cycle.

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  2. Where is your exchange student from, and why the crispy addiction? I ask because we hosted a German exchange student years ago and he had never had a marshmallow. I wonder if that's why your exchange student is also fascinated?

    My favorite salad is mixed greens, sweet potato (cubed, baked and chilled), walnuts, blue cheese and a vinaigrette type dressing.

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    1. He is from Spain...not sure if marshmallows are new to him or not, but he LOVES them.

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  3. I have noticed that the week before a big race (taper week) all my runs feel horrible. That would be this week for me. I have a 1/2 marathon Sunday. So naturally I second guess myself and my planned pace and wonder if I should be more conservative. And then I kick myself if I do start too conservatively and wonder if I could have run faster. It's an awesome cycle.

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  4. The best way to describe my last run is "wet". Not a euphemism.
    Actually the skies decided to open up 5 mins before our group run. We waited an extra 10 and then took off. Not a bad run just a bit drippy.

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  5. Hi, reader for quite a while just never commented. I had a shitty week too, maybe it's in the air! Or maybe I need a salad too, think I might just make one soon! Enjoy your bog BTW!

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  6. I've been in the same boat this week, just slogging through mediocre runs. I do think part of it is physical fatigue, but I definitely think mental fatigue plays a huge role. I am trying to reframe my outlook to be more positive and give myself a mental boost going into the weekend.

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  7. I'm mentally TOAST this week. Work is just a 9-hour chunk of time in which crackheads scream at me continually.

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  8. Thanks for your posts! Because of them I rested in the am, sleeping in and then running after work. That was after a month of a work conference and driving five states to see my son graduate. Only missing one run. I think it finally all hit me and you helped me give myself permission to rest a bit and change my schedule.

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  9. Oh I hate those "off" runs. I had the worst last week. So frustrating and maybe I need to look at my mental exhaustion also.
    I like my salad to have a lot of meat and no so much lettuce.

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  10. My mental fatigue has dumped me in a pit that my lazy behind is trying to climb out of. :( I know I cant let life n circumstances get in the way. Will u please kick me in the arse?

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  11. Totally questioning if the "mental" is what shut me down last night. I am sore and wanted to rest a bit before Saturday's 18 miles, but...

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  12. I like arugula, sweet potato, feta, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

    Also if I am feeling mentally tired but I need to get the run in I do two things -

    #1. Sit down at computer and either google or Pinterest search for cool running destinations or something motivational, maybe even just type in "running motivation". That usually gets my motor running. Or go to your favorite blogger's site and be reminded to "shut up and run". :-)

    #2. Wear headphones on the run and listen to super upbeat dance music. (That also works if you are doing a speed workout and want to get a little edge).

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  13. With the weather cooling off I'm noticing I'm loving my running lately. We have been running stress free though since we haven't really signed up for any long races. That must be why--mentally it's been fun. My favorite salad ingredient is kale! And BTW, I want a piece of that cake!

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  14. You are hilarious and I love reading your blog :)

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  15. So glad I am not the only one who webmd's "fatigue"! You are so right; being mentally overwhelmed makes me want to crawl into bed right after work...

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  16. That is such a good cake, so delicious!!!

    If my runs are feeling bad, I try a new route, new clothes, new shoes. Retail therapy!!

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  17. I start out at 4:30 a.m. kinda tired...but feel GREAT after and ready for my 9 hour day working with preschoolers...I don't have much time to run, so I embrace the runs I can get in!

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  18. Today I headed out to run six solid miles and ended up only doing three which I am surprised I made it that far to be honest I am going again tomorrow a little earlier in the day and hope that i fell a little more energetic!

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  19. Oh my you make me laugh. :) I have runs and weeks like you are having. It definitely sucks but know that some great runs are right around the corner! Rest up, pamper yourself, and do not stress about it. You will be back at it in no time! Just take the time to rest.

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  20. I ran a marathon last weekend. I'm still exhausted

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  21. This post was perfect for me this week. My runs were slower and harder than usual. I blamed it on the mental stress my son is putting me through. But also all those endorphins that I had for the 2 weeks after the Chicago marathon are gone. Poof!

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  22. Yup, this whole week. Exhausted, not sleeping well, and the runs I managed were very slow. Turns out I'm fighting off a cold. Yay!

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  23. Couldn't agree more on the mental exhaustion and its impacts. I've been feeling exhausted at work (new role, lots of changes, new longer sucky commute, etc) while at the same time training for a 100 mile run. All along, I had been less worried about the physical aspects of this feat, but more of the mental aspects. I was mostly concerned that my beaten down mental strength may cause me to quit my race before completing the 100 (and the race was a timed event, so no official DNFs existed - talk about a back door!). Anyhoo, I managed to manage it, just finished that 100 miler (yay me), and have stayed employed. But it's been quite a juggle!

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  24. Avocado makes every salad so much better!
    Sadly I haven't been able to run all week - I'm going to try a little run tomorrow and hope for the best!!
    And - 6 jobs?!

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  25. After taking a break from running due to burn-out, winning these Asics would be a fun way to welcome running back into my life! :-)

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  26. I can definitely attest to mental stress adding to physical stress. After some intense work stress my runs have been less than stellar. I am hopping this will pass and my workouts will start to feel normal again.

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  27. My favorite salad... spinach, broccoli, ranch, egg, avocado, and some sort of fruit.

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  28. I couldn't agree more! I've found I am at my worst physically when I have become mentally worn down. When my brain is trashed it just seems to open the gateway for the rest of me to break down.

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