Dealing with setbacks

6a21dd78-6b28-4582-90b4-10fa8675dcf4

My humorous. Not where it’s meant to be.

Nobody’s invincible. We all know that, but it’s easy to forget when you’re on a roll, training is going well, you’re in good health and you have goals that you really can reach, if you just carry on. So when the rug is pulled from under you, what do you do? A few weeks ago, I had just completed an ultra marathon and was heading into training for a road marathon when I fell on a bouncy castle (yes, I know, I’m 40 – my mum has already mentioned this) and dislocated my shoulder.

 

So it’s all change. Ten days in a sling, four weeks with no high-impact or weight-bearing exercise. Sixteen weeks recovery with physio. It would be easy to get down about this. And at times I have been, but the thing that’s most surprising is that it’s actually not that bad. Sure, I had to drop out of the marathon, and not being allowed to drive has been a pain but, overall, I’ve realised that it’s ok.

First obvious problem is training. I was worried I would lose fitness, lose all the hard work I’d put in. But all that hard work is in fact still paying off – if you have incorporated fitness and training into your everyday life, it takes quite a while to lose. And I’m lucky, I’m a PT, so I have devised a couple of zero-impact, cardio and resistance workouts that I’m confident will keep me going while I wait to get stronger.

Second problem is work. I can’t demo new moves, I can’t drive to see clients. After a disastrous morning where I insisted I could walk from client to client with a kettlebell, yoga mat and bag all hanging off one shoulder (the good one), I realised I could ask for help. This can be really difficult, even when people outright offer, when you’re used to doing everything yourself. But the relief when you do and (in my case) don’t have to try to figure out a new non-weights routine for your client, don’t have to get cover for teaching a class… the relief. Look at it this way, if someone you cared about needed help; nothing crazy, just a lift in the car or lending something for a few days, you absolutely would do it! You wouldn’t even think twice about it. Take the help when it’s offered. Ask when you need it.

I guess I’m just advocating positive thinking and positive action. Not a new concept, but certainly a good one. And maybe that marathon would have been a boring one anyway.

 

Drink up!

I have a drinking problem… I am NEVER properly hydrated. I’m pretty good at drinking coffee, and wine, but water is something I definitely don’t get enough of. I was recently commissioned by netdoctor.co.uk to investigate the role of electrolytes in hydration and what I found confirmed that I need to hydrate more! I’m trying to at least have one electrolyte drink (500ml) per day and any water/herbal tea/cordial I can add to that is a bonus. Have a read on the link below and see what you think – you might be surprised at the facts:

“Do I Need Electrolytes?”

Spring in your step

IMG_20180318_101621_BokehWoohoo! The sun is out! I think this might be for real this time, too. Now is a great time to be outside running/cycling/burpee-ing; whatever floats your boat. I always say that of course, even when it’s snowing (here’s me running last week – was it only last week? – taken by my awesome other half who came along for the run/skate), but I think the combination of bright sunshine and cool temperatures could just be the perfect balance for a positive workout with all the joys of the great outdoors and none of the woes of overheating or freezing your toes off. Plus it’s great for taking selfies.

Finding your get-up-and-go

This is the time of year everyone’s looking for ways to get fit. It’s a lot to do with making new year’s resolutions and a lot to do with the guilt of Christmas excess too. And for what might be the first time, I am facing that challenge too – to pick myself up and improve my fitness. Just before Christmas I hurt my back. I mean, properly, can’t stand, can’t sit, can’t move territory. I’ve never had that before; never had to completely stop all exercise, and it sucked. Also, it happened at exactly the wrong time of year, so I was burning about 4 calories a day but consuming about 40,000, in mince pies and red wine alone. Roughly. So now I’m facing that daunting task of getting back to where I was.

If you’re in a similar situation you’ll appreciate it’s not great. But it has given me insight into what it’s like and how to motivate myself from here and I’ll take that as a positive; a good tool for my skill box. Best motivator so far? Telling myself I can stop after five minutes if I really can’t bear it. Once I’ve got going, it’s really not that bad, and the five-minute cut-off is forgotten. If you’re in the same boat, I’d love to hear your tips too!

Flu season

IMG_1921I’ve just crawled out of bed after days of flu and feel like I really need to go for a run. But then I made the bed and that wiped me out, so I guess a run is out. If you’re seeing results from your training and have something to aim for, it can be hard to take a step back when you feel a bit under the weather, but it’s important not to overdo it and end up bed ridden. If you’re not sure whether to train, one way to figure it out is to use the ‘neck check’. This basically means that if your symptoms are above the neck (head aches, runny nose, sore throat) you’re good to go – you’ll be able to exercise moderately and still be ok. If it’s below the neck (chesty cough, aches and pains in your body) then it’s a no.

And when you’re better, take it easy – a fantastic option for those recovering from illness is Pilates. Your heart rate stays steady, your body is challenged, but you can push yourself less if necessary, and you’re staying in one spot, so won’t find yourself out in the park or pool, wishing you were at home in bed. I can’t recommend Harri Angell’s Pilates for Runners enough – it has beginner, intermediate and advanced exercises and you can get back on track with as little as 15 minutes a day, at home on the living room rug – what’s not to like?

Daily drills

I try to give my clients a ‘take-home’ exercise to do on a daily basis (or at least a few times a week) so that we can maintain the good work we’ve achieved in our sessions. One of my favourites is one I call The Compass, which I learnt from my friend Sarah Russell, who is a biomechanics coach. It’s not only brilliant for making your bum look great, but it helps strengthen your core as you try to balance, too.

How to do it:
Go into a single leg squat, then using the arm opposite to the one you’re standing on touch the floor in front of you in four places; north, south, east and west (you can pulse the squat between compass points). Do this a few times on each leg, standing upright again between goes (but without setting your other foot down). Switch the arm you use to increase the challenge.

Gym-prov

IMG_5072Wanted to share this interesting session with the guys over at Nuffield Health in Canon Street a little while back – a treadmill training run led to a group warm-down session where we tried a whole load of stretches using a towel… I really like this idea as you don’t always have access to resistance bands, or a personal trainer to help progress your stretches, so the ability to improvise with a sweat towel is a good tool to have.