I've always been under the impression that stress makes us better. Even though it's an uncomfortable thing, it's that discomfort with where things stand that pushes us to be better, to train harder and more consistently.
Think about it - impending race = stress --> working harder.
But I should know better - this really isn't always the case, and looking back over old posts on my blog that I've written just reiterates that stress really isn't always a positive thing. Every person handles things differently, but for me I seem to have an optimum stress level - where I am busy and have lots of things to balance on my plate (work, relationship, family, volunteering and training for a race). But when one of those components gets out of balance, it's usually at the expense of something else; and that something else is usually running.
I'll be the first to say that it doesn't make sense - running is my stress release, so you'd think that when the stress level goes up, it would just be more fuel for the fire and I'd be running like a champ... If that logic actually represented reality, I'd be Usain Freakin Bolt right now after the few weeks I've had!
But sadly, that's just not how it goes and when I get really stressed out (I'm not talking your garden variety stress here, I mean when sh*t hits the fan and you're left feeling exhausted and overwhelmed - it happens to all of us!), running is the first thing that suffers. I just don't want to run and my motivation takes a one way trip down south for a while. I suspect she's spent the past few weeks relaxing on the beach with a margarita and a hot pool boy...
My hardest earned medal for how awful the race felt!
Anyway, since the race last weekend (huuuge wake up call... apparently you can't take 6 weeks pretty much off, then run a PB. Here I thought I had just tapered really, really efficiently!), I've been doing better. Still not back in mad love with running like I was before, but we're definitely flirting.
I had my first really good run in a while the other night. For one thing I was wearing my favourite rainbow plaid lulu shorts.. You'd be surprised how much that helps :) As I was running, all this dawned on me. I had no idea why I had lost my mojo - I figured it was a combination of the cold, slushy, icy weather we've had here for weeks and boredom with the treadmill, but now I suspect there's more to it. I've also been really stressed out about some things that I don't really want to share just yet. I think in the end, good things will come of it but the growing pains really suck. Anyway, it finally occurred to me that overly stressed Jenn = what's been stopping me from running.
I saw this article on Runners World yesterday (ironically, I saw it a few hours after my epiphany while I was running), and it served as further evidence of what I was suspecting. Too much stress takes away from running.
I need to spend more time with this guy: the open road
How do I fix this? Well, I'm not really sure. Until I sort things out in the rest of my life, a certain level of stress will still carry over to my running life. And the marathon that I have looming in 9 weeks (that's 7 weeks of good training time before taper, yikes!) probably isn't helping matters. But I KNOW I can handle the marathon and there's light at the end of the tunnel for sure.
It's kind of a relief to know what the problem really was for me with running, because it's not really a secret that I was struggling to get motivated to run and that's really not like me. I LOVE to run so much!
My obsession with rainbow shorts will never die!
For now? I'm going to keep rocking my rainbow shorts and keep on keepin' on. I think the worst is over with, and that we need to go through rough patches to grow as people and to figure out who we really are and what we're made of.
Beside, I got a marathon to run! Does stress ever affect your running? How do you get past it? What are you training for now? What's your favourite piece of running gear or clothes right now? Connect with me! Find me on Twitter Check out my Facebook page Find me on Instagram Or email me