I took a break from Operation Suck Less 2014™ and it was glorious!
I often struggle with knowing when to say when. (I also struggle with proper grammar and I am not sure if that second “when” should be in quotes or not. Meh.)
Since my brain likes to see things from every angle, sometimes I have too many conflicting voices drowning out what my body is trying to say. Push through the pain. You need a rest. No pain, no gain. Give it up. Hold on. Let go. Take a nap. I have a hard time knowing if my body has had enough or if my inner quitter is just being a spoiled brat; this conflict can lead to injury as well as overall lameness.
I had a couple days of zero motivation and half-assed workouts before I was meant to leave town for a long weekend. I decided to just give it a rest for those days, try to walk a bit, stretch and not eat sugar, but otherwise just exist and suck as much as I wanted.
I kept telling myself it was a break (in the voice of Ross from Friends), not a break-up and when I returned from my trip I would resume my workout and eating routine just as before. I was also leery, knowing that past short breaks have turned into months of couch sitting and junk food eating.
On my trip, I did much less walking than I wanted. I ate a bit of sugary treats but also much less than I wanted. I repeatedly thought about how nice it would be to get back in the pool although I was not completely buying it.
The first day when I returned I walked just a little. The next couple days I swam but skipped the rest of my planned activities. I still felt tired, my back was having spasms and my motivation was still lost, so I took a day off.
Then something strange happened, I woke up last Sunday ready for a workout. I practically ran to the gym (which looked like normal walking to the rest of the world I am sure) I hit the row machine, kettlebells and the treadmill for intervals. I sweated and was completely gross but it felt good.
My performance was the best I had ever done. Each day this week has been the same, suddenly I can swim a bit faster, walk a bit faster, row a bit longer and swing an extra set. Everything seems to be clicking again, my back has stopped acting up and my motivation is back in full force. Yay!
I wish I had a formula for this switch that flipped so I can recreate it again when I will inevitably need it. I never understand how things change from one day to the next when all other variables to be the same. I guess I needed a break. I guess I also needed to persevere until things clicked again.
In the next 4 months, I have 5 weeks of trips planned for my trying to age gracefully North American tour and I hope I can time my breaks and perseverance to match because I enjoyed the time off, but I am loving the increase in performance even more.