Sunday, January 5, 2014

How To Get Your Groove Back

Happy new year! Time to start being perfect! Time for a clean house, clean diet, eight hours of sleep per night, acing all the scheduled workouts, foam rolling after these workouts, slipping in some clever core stability exercises while waiting for the metro (but not looking like a psychopath). Um, probably not. So let's forget about perfection, and focus on perseverance. After all, perfection that only lasts three weeks really isn't. Real progress comes from making a change over the long haul, even when the going gets tough.

Dawn breaks on the new year. Can you just smell the opportunities?

After my recent whirlwind of buying a house, putting all worldly possessions in storage, selling a condo, camping in said empty condo for six weeks, and moving across town, here are some things that helped cut down on the crazy (somewhat) and keep training mostly on track.

  • A Short Run (or bike, or swim, or nap) is Better than None: Pressed for time? Even 20 minutes of speed intervals (or deep sleep) will leave you refreshed and feeling like you've accomplished something and really are in control of your life.
  • Try Something Different: Workouts feeling off? Just not feeling it? Try something new so you're working different muscles, thinking about your movements, and have no basis for comparison. Suggestions: swim strokes other than freestyle, explore a new neighborhood on a Bikeshare bike, or take a Zumba or barre class. 
  • Trick Yourself: Sometimes you need to just suck it up and do the long/boring/hard workout. But your mind will be stronger than your legs, every time. While swimming, focus on one thing each 50 (catch, pull, finish, recovery, breathing, core, head position, body position, kick, turns --voila, a 500!). While on the bike trainer, you can pretend you're this guy or watch your watts with Trainer Road. For a long run, try to work in some Strava segments. If you're treadmill-bound and find it too bouncy to read, try flipping through a cookbook or travel magazine on your iPad. Plus you can laugh at yourself for running toward a picture of cupcakes.
  • Be a Control Freak: Our lives are busy. Between training, work, friends, family, cooking, cleaning and -- oh yeah-- sleeping, we deal with a lot of logistics. Sometimes we have to deal with these logistics at 5 AM. And that is when we arrive at work and realize we have forgotten our lunch...and our underwear. (Pro tip: leave extra clothes at work or pick an employer located near stores, since bike shorts under a pencil skirt does not a fashionable statement make.) Enter the List. During the move, Elliott and I had about a half dozen lists going at any one time -- things to pack, things not to pack yet, things to clean/fix before the move, documentation to scan/fax, etc. For workouts and my day job, I've created a monster checklist. Depending on where I'm going/what I'm doing, many of the items won't apply, but this cuts down the risk of error.

Enough about me. Let's talk about you. What tips do you have for getting the proverbial "er" done? 


  1. Watch your watts on TrainerRoad. <3

  2. My favorite rule of getting things done is "if it's going to take less than 5 minutes, do it now." It might seem like the antithesis of list-making, but I consider it "list management." Don't take 1 minute to write down and prioritize a task that would take 5 minutes. Just do it.