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Coping with Low Motivation

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday was a bad motivation day for me. It was a struggle to get my usual morning exercises in, and I didn't do the kettlebell TGUs and snatches I usually do on Saturdays.

Sometimes I can't tell why motivation leaves. This time, it was pretty clear. Motivation had been low for a couple of days because I wasn't getting enough sleep. So I turned off the alarm on the weekend; but I still didn't sleep much past when the alarm should have sounded. The problem is, I need to get to sleep earlier instead of staying awake to read.

I've read a lot of blogs where people wrestle with the urge to binge eat. I have that urge at times, too; but it's not like other folks describe it. For me, the self-destructive behavior of choice is staying awake late to do whatever kinda sorta has my attention, even if it's not all that much fun. I thought I had that licked with a bedtime goal; but now I see it's going to need periodic attention, probably until I retire from the working world.

So on Saturday, I was up a little late and still tired. Went through the morning routine in a leisurely fashion, as I usually do; but wasn't motivated to put in extra exercises like I usually do on Saturday. The lawn needed mowing. I had a noonish appointment for lunch with my daughter, and probably some chatting in the afternoon. I need to get my 10K steps in. What to do?

A bit before 10, I decided that a day of low motivation was the perfect time to do the limited quantity of run/walk intervals that I had planned for the weekend. If motivation is low, it will be less of a disappointment to stop at 6. So I did that. I did some other stuff, too. Turned on the 5 minute warmup for RunKeeper, so I would walk 5 minutes before starting to run. Concentrated on running easier, which ought to mean slower, since just running seemed to be an issue. Got through 6 cycles of run 1, walk 3, and then kept walking while ignoring RunKeeper's interval prompts.

That came out to 2.83 miles in 35 minutes, with only 6 minutes of running. Average pace is 12:28, which is faster than I can walk for that long under the best of conditions; but it still felt more like a walk than a run.

Check the RunKeeper stats. The pace isn't terribly accurate for the running intervals, both because of the short time and because I don't really start and stop on the dot very well; but it's a guideline. RunKeeper thinks my pace in the six one-minute running intervals was 8:03, 7:48, 8:03, 7:34, 7:59, and 7:53. Look back at the last set of intervals. RunKeeper thought the pace for the running intervals was 8:05, 7:19, 6:51, 6:43, 7:17, 6:48, 6:55, 7:09, 7:01, and 6:53. The app may not be totally accurate, but it looks to me like I did a better job of controlling my speed this time around.

It remains to be seen whether I can figure out how to run slow while doing intervals, which are usually promoted for working on running faster.

Then Saturday afternoon I was mostly sedentary, and mowing the lawn in the early evening was just about enough to fill out my 10K steps for the day. Did a better job of turning out the light early, and Sunday arrived with better motivation. Fancy that.

So I did the kettlebell work this morning, and got to the gym to lift weights this afternoon. It's been 5 days since the last time I got to the gym; that's been a casualty of lack of sleep and the resulting sub-par motivation. Got to watch that going forward.

Oh, and the foot. Yes, I can tell I did intervals yesterday and shouldn't run today. But it was good enough to support one legged calf raises. You usually think of calf raises targeting the large calf muscle, the gastrocnemius; but the PT wants me to do them to strengthen my arch. If I can't do them on one leg, do them on two to work on it.

So there's my weekend with fitness and rehab. It wasn't a gold star weekend, but I think I did a decent job of coping with the results of some poor bedtime decisions from earlier in the week. Next up, try not to get into this position again.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It's the big picture we have to always keep in mind and know that sometimes we will be a little "off"'s just important to not let the "off" times become the normal.
    You will come back. Work on the sleep and going to bed earlier. It is so important to get good sleep.
    have a great week.
    1730 days ago
  • NWFL59
    Glad you were able to cope successfully with your low motivation and get things moving and accomplished. I too struggle right now with motivation and have been doing a more destructive approach in that I'm snacking constantly (albeit small amounts as its physically impossible for me to gorge) and not moving as much as I should. I attribute mine to the week long rain we've been experiencing and that kind of weather always brings me down.
    Strength training still not a regular habit. I enjoy reading your maintenance blogs as they show me what could be and sometimes how to turn things around for the better. Thanks. emoticon
    1730 days ago
    I sure recognize that link among excess reading/lack of sleep/low motivation. Thanks for pointing it out and the steps you took to deal with it. Very helpful.
    1730 days ago
    I can relate to the "staying up late to do whatever has my attention"... mostly reading.
    I'm handling it better since I realized the first half hour or so is the most enjoyable - it is tempting to stay up and read for an hour more, but it is far less fun than the first half hour was. ; )

    You did great for a low motivation weekend.
    1730 days ago
    We can't always be at the top of our game so give yourself a break.
    1731 days ago
    Sounds like you handled the low motivation well. Sleep really does make a big difference.
    1731 days ago
    Well, at least you don't eat to fight fatigue, which might be SOME of those of us with binge eating issues problems. I had a "fatigued" weekend, too. Emotional drain came with the Fort Hood verdict, and I deliberately "slept in" this morning, taking it easy today. Only 30 minutes on the treadmill and a few strength exercises. Strength training is going to be very important to me the next couple of weeks while I taper, for sure.

    Sounds like you coped well... and next weekend, you'll have another chance to "adapt", "adjust" figure out the unique puzzle of a Holiday weekend.
    1731 days ago
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