This post is in partnership with Very and Samsung.
Pandemic fatigue is real. It’s been a tough 18 months for everyone, and I know I’m not the only one that feels a bit…frankly, fed up. I’ve had moments recently (ok days) where I feel exhausted, lacking motivation, low energy, and no drive to go after my goals.
After sharing on instagram last week I wanted to actually address what was going on, and so I took many of your suggestions on board. That started with 10 days off from running completely. Often things need to be broken down before they can be rebuilt, and that is kind of what this feels like.
When motivation is lacking, or training for a goal feels overwhelming it can sometimes help to take a step back, assess why you’re struggling, or if there’s areas in particular that you’re finding tough.
Use Outside Motivation
We can’t always guarantee internal motivation to help us achieve our goals. One things that helps is simply creating a routine, so that you don’t have to rely on motivation to get us to that workout or to complete that run. Having run clubs, gym classes or run commutes that are on your calendar really help.
Personally I find inspiration from a range of sources including elite athletes (I personally loved following the US Olympic Trials and watching on YouTube on our new Samsung The Sero Auto-Rotation Smart TV from Very.co.uk) and seeing the athletes post on social media after their races…both the good and bad. Everyday runners also provide a lot of inspo to get out and run – even when you want don’t want to.
If you’re finding it tough, rope a friend or partner in to join you in your workout, or sign up to a challenge. I recently signed up to Danielle Pascente’s FitOn 4 week July challenge for some accountability and structure to help me regain some fitness with 4 x 30-40 min workouts per week. It is so different to my running focused plan that I think it will bring some variety to my training and help boost my fitness, I hope!
Change your Workout Intensity
Do you know what impact stress has on your training? Whilst the body is designed to deal with stress, there’s only a certain amount we can process. Stress is stress – whether that comes from training, life or work. Stress increasing our cortisol, testosterone and adrenaline hormones which can cause raised heart rate and tissue inflammation. These are designed to help us in a fight or flight situation however we are not meant to remain in this state for as long as we force it.
When life stress increases, exercise is a great way of dealing with it – providing yourself ‘time out’ from outside stress in a positive way however it’s really important that you listen to your body cues to rest and recover. It could be beneficial to reduce some of your workout intensity while stress levels are very high. You could swap those HIIT sessions for a bike ride, yoga or easy run to give yourself less to recover from.
Most of my runs have been easy runs over the last few months as I try to build my fitness back up (very slowly). Whilst we’ve added in some longer runs and speed workouts, the runs I am most enjoying are those that are low intensity.
I’ve also been using the Samsung The Sero Auto-Rotation Smart TV to incorporate more yoga and stretching into my workout routine.
The Sero Smart-TV rotates between portrait and landscape – ideal for mobile content so you can follow IG workouts on the big screen, as well as YouTube content! I’ve been using it for following Yoga with Adrienne as well as watching Netflix – anyone obsessed with Drive to Survive?
I’ve been wearing a WHOOP for the last few weeks and tracking my sleep, rest and recovery. And the results of how far off ‘peak’ I am were firstly shocking, then not so much when I thought back to how tired I have been for so long.
Despite going to bed at 9pm most nights, I am not actually getting that much sleep… mostly because I get into bed and scroll on my phone for too long. Then I seem to wake up around 5am (regardless of if I actually want to or not!). Sometimes due to anxiety, sometimes due to an early alarm.
My WHOOP tells me I’m averaging 6.5 – 7 hours of sleep per night whilst I apparently I need nearly 8 hours or more for peak performance. Whilst its obviously not possible to always get the recommended amount of hours in bed (who has 10 hours to spend in bed every night???) I think that many of us neglect sleep as a key training tool for both running/fitness and general life. We perform at our best when we’re adequately recovered.
We recently moved the Samsung The Sero Auto-Rotation Smart TV to our bedroom which is where I try to do an evening stretch before bed and realised that we could also use the Calm App on it (and all Samsung Smart TVs) which is going to be a game changer for helping with evening anxiety. So many of you have recommended the Calm App – I can’t wait to listen to Matthew McConaughey’s dulcit tones to soothe me to sleep!
TakE Extra Rest Days
I spoke with my coach Ash about cutting down to 5 days of running and adding in another rest day/low impact day – depending on life/work! I think there’s so many people that I follow online that seem to run/workout 6+ days per week but that’s not always realistic. I’ve realised that I would rather have 5 great days of workouts, rather than strive for 6 and feel guilty for missing one or two. We don’t all work best on high mileage, high intensity and high impact… it’s important to find what works best for you and your lifestyle or current situation.
Commuting 2.5 hours per day by car, dog walks on the weekend, plus things opening up meaning more socialising life is very different to the days where I was working as a nanny, a student and commuting by train/foot. I trained for a couple of marathons using a 3 day a week marathon training plan and cut down from 4.54 to 3.49 using a plan similar to this.
GivE Yourself a Change of Scenery
Whilst I know that the past 18 months has made travel incredibly difficult, expensive and unpredictable, I know the benefit of getting out of our usual environment. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hop on a plane (although as a wife of a pilot, please do if/when you feel safe and happy to travel!) it could mean visiting friends, a trip to explore somewhere closer to home, a just a day trip to a new location or even just a new running/walking route.
Personally I think that being in a fresh environment can do wonders for your spirit.
I managed to get a last minute deal to travel across the ocean to Antigua (on the Green List!) for 5 days with a friend (long story short, Tom was called into work on his days off so couldn’t make the trip) and I can’t wait to lace up and explore some of the island.
Photos by Phil Hill