I’ve been trying really hard to be active and get myself into shape this month – part New Years resolution, part forcing myself into a routine since I’m not employed, and part making sure I get enough exercise to keep my mental health doing what it should. I was hoping I would drop 5-10 pounds in the first month as a great self-esteem boost and mental jump-start (and you know, it wouldn’t suck to fit into some of my clothes again), but my weight hasn’t changed a bit, although I suspect part of that has been some muscle development. Also, the last time I did this I went from drinking heavily several times a week to not drinking at all for a few months, and I imagine that had a lot to do with my drastic weight loss 2 years ago. Still, the thing that’s getting me is how NOT in-shape I feel considering how much I’m able to do.
Case in point: I’ve been trying to run or climb or at least do something active every day, and the main side effect is that I am simply exhausted. I am ready for bed every day by about 7pm, I feel sore somewhere pretty much all the time, and I find myself having to take rest days, which is something I never really did when I was younger. Am I just getting old? Because here I am, totally able to run between six and seven miles without feeling like I’m going to die, and in my mind that means I’m in good shape, right? Except that I feel like it takes me days to recover from that.
And I love being active and how it feels for the next several hours after a good run, where I feel like I have more than ample energy to tackle whatever challenges are going to come to me that day, except then I poop out by early evening. At what point can I just work out and not feel like a zombie by the end of the day?
I always thought that unless you were trying to be super-extreme or hurting yourself, that doing what your body lets you do means you aren’t working out excessively. I’m starting to wonder if that is true. I suppose it’s possible that I’ve been over-ambitious in my workouts, but it just doesn’t feel that way when I’m doing them. I went from going 3-5 miles once a week to going 4-6 miles about 3 times a week, but I’m not doing interval training, I’m running at what feels like an easy pace, and I make sure never to run two days in a row. And my pace has improved a ton in this time too, so it’s been exciting to watch my progress. Same with climbing, where in the span of a month of really working at it, I’ve gotten almost to the level I was climbing at my peak 18 months ago. I just, you know, would love to not be super-tired every day.
For now, I’m just trying to be conscious of the progression and I guess I need to wait till I’m solid enough that I’m not worn out all the time. Making sure I’m not running or climbing on consecutive days is a smart move, and I’m trying to do only one ambitious run per week, with the others being either short easy runs, or on a route with hills but not more than 3-4 miles. With climbing I’m also trying to be smart – only one power day per week, one endurance/technical work day, and then one day of core training until I can get my abs and lower back where they need to be for me to not worry about hurting myself. And then I guess a rest day every week is something I need in my routine as well. I’m hoping the tired thing will start to fade in the next week or two as my body adjusts to doing some kind of exercise every day. Meanwhile I’m just going to keep plugging at it, drinking lots of water, getting lots of sleep, and trying to eat well to make sure my body has everything it needs to adjust to a better, more fit way of being. Cross appendages that the rest of this month is somewhat less painful as I get this sorted!