Training Woes: Old Tapes
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Training has been getting increasingly more intense in the past few weeks. Now that cycling is in full swing, I'm dealing with another injury. This doesn't surprise me since every time I change something up in my training routine or add something new to it, I seem to gain another injury. Hopefully, much like the others, this injury will wind up being a small matter in the larger scheme of things. Regardless, I'm proud to say I've learned from my prior injuries and my experiences with them and have pulled the plug on cycling for this week rather than pushing through the pain. I simply need to go slow when I add something new.
Yesterday, when this new injury finally benched me from a workout, I hit a familiar wall. When I realized I'd need to change my routine and avoid my usual Monday morning spin class, those old tapes started spinning, telling me I'm somehow failing: failing my body, failing my training program, failing my trainers, failing myself. I sank into that and, I'll confess, DID despair for a little while. Part of it is that I'd heard from several people that I'd made a bad call in pushing too much too fast--and got a little sensitive to the suggestion that I'd made an ignorant decision! A much bigger part of it is that I was already feeling warn down from YET ANOTHER weekend without enough sleep and with too much food that I don't normally eat. It's become painfully obvious to me that just because I CAN eat more or get away with eating less-than-stellar foods right now since I'm training so much, doesn't mean I WANT to eat those things--or SHOULD eat those things--or SHOULD eat those things AND expect my body to perform as usual. Some crappy sundried tomato basil wheat thins and a hefty meal of chinese food later, and my Monday morning workout felt like a hefty kick in the pants. And I strengthened the kick by playing that old tape that suggests that one meal and one week of adjusting my training schedule makes me a failure.
Since reading The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, I've become an even bigger advcoate than I was already of treating one's self with kindness, understanding, and, well, compassion. I didn't do that yesterday. The good news is that I recognized this, reached out for help from a VERY "safe" friend, and then took care of myself the rest of the day. Today I am able to put a friendly arm around my own shoulder and recognize that the person who lets those tapes play has a lot of fears--fears of going back to a really terrible way of living, fear of gaining weight back, fear of what others will (or won't) think of her, fear of looking back and thinking she didn't try hard enough or do enough... the list goes on. And the way she traditionally responds to those fears is right in those tapes. The compassionate part of me understands this--and doesn't blame her. That old life was pretty scary and terrible sometimes. Recognizing this means recognizing the lack of substance behind those old tapes. I'm not failing anyone or anything, and I really didn't make a bad call in training how I did. But the compassionate thing to do right now would be to take care of the injury and make space for the feelings that I have. And so that's what I'm doing.
I'm also, incidentally, using the time that I can't spend cycling doing other things--like some good uphill walking on the treadmill, using the elliptical, and some other quad-strengthening exercises that will help me avoid my current injury in the future. Today I'm going to enjoy my scheduled run and swim and focus on my gratitude for what's going well and honor THAT.