By Athlete Ambassador, Hailey Van Dyk
There is a fine balance. I think I dipped ridiculously close to the latter recently. It can be pretty hard to achieve a perfect balance of training, working, spending time with family and friends, and regular life stuff without getting totally wiped out. I am not the only one who has experienced feeling totally exhausted from it all and I won’t be the last, however it is really comforting to know that friends and other runners have felt this way before. The balance comes from wanting to push yourself towards your goal, but respecting that you are human and that your life demands a lot from you.
I am not a professional athlete, but I arguably train if not at the same intensity, but the same volume as one. I try and get a massage once a week, mix in cross training, long runs, short runs, hill repeats, speed work, healthy eating and more. All while holding down a full time nursing career, my own business and being a dog mum, wife and many other things. I want what most athletes want. I want finish lines. I want to do my best. I want to achieve things I never thought possible. I want to get faster and stronger. I want to do what I love.
But there has to be a balance or you are going to A. burn out, B. get injured and or C. over train. The most important thing I have learned through out all this is listen to your body:
1. If you feel there are any big red flags… accept them! If you are feeling over tired, with heavy legs, more than what would be expected after a hard training run… let off a little bit. If you have just put in a few hard weeks, take it down a notch for a week.
2. Get in those rest days! Kick your feet up, chill out and relax. Your body needs those days more than you might think you do.
3. Eat right. Highly nutritious foods, good amounts of protein and carbs. Fuel your body with what it needs the most.
4. Sleep in. Go to bed early. However you want to get those extra zzz’s in… get them in!
5. Enjoy yourself. Ultimately we train like crazy because this is who we are and this is what we love. So don’t be so hard on yourself if you need to take a rest or your feeling a little more tired.
It is a fine line… but seriously, just listen to your body. It will tell you everything you need to know.