Sometimes you just need to take a break

It is almost 10am on a Sunday morning and I have just woke up without the aid of an alarm clock, or the enthusiastic musings of a 4 year old.

I have had childcare all weekend, however I did not wake up and think about going for a run or signing in for the 11am CrossFit class, although I did get up and have a good old click inducing stretch.

I have done hardly any exercise this week even though I intended to. In fact yesterday I had plans to run the 15 mile route of the Circle Line as my long run before the Beachy Head marathon which is fast approaching.


I simply didn’t go because I am exhausted.

IMG_8636Things have been super busy the last few months, 3 major events in 3 countries in 3 weeks, followed by a conference last week, oh and the decision to launch a brand new course and write an associated book in less than a month.

I am tired.

My body is tired.

My mind is tired.

I think though, part of being an athlete is knowing when to stop. Knowing when your body has had enough. And mine has.

I went to my running clubs weekly run on Wednesday and did the first mile before realising I could do no more, the week before I had done the 5K route with ease, a few days before that 13 miles had proven relatively easy.

The following day though I was in for a real treat as I had a 121 pilates session scheduled….that should help put my body back together right?

Now I have never really been one for more gentle, sedentary fitness sessions. I once left a Tai Chi class because I found myself giggling so much, and I have often stopped mid session of a yoga class because the voice of the instructor has just got on my nerves.

It’s a shame, because I know these kind of classes would really help me.

The problem is given the choice of an hour of yoga or an hour of CrossFit, I always choose the later because I think the intensity is better for me given my goals.

But actually when my body has been through as much as it has recently I know I need to slow things down and this pilates session would be just the thing.

lela1Lela arrived at 3pm with yoga mat in hand. She was a beautiful petite red head who I thought initially I would hate (Hey don’t judge me…I get jealous too you know), but after a brief conversation about why I had scheduled the session I realised she was lovely.

It felt a little odd having someone in my home, but I have a nice big space between my sofa and TV which is perfect for this kind of activity. Rose and I often get out our yoga mats and do 20 minutes of yoga before dinner (Check out CosmicKids if you have little ones around, Rose loves it)

So we started off with some simple stretching type exercises. I should have taken notes because writing this I realise I have no memory of what any of it was called….inversions maybe. All I know was that it felt good to be working at this slightly lower intensity, but engaging muscles that I often ignore.

It was quite intense in as much as there was nowhere for me to hide…and during one move when I thought I might just pass wind, I thought “This might get embarrassing” but luckily the feeling passed.

band1The session was challenging, and I could feel my body lengthening which is what it kind of needs right now. I loved the work with the bands…I have bands I just don’t bloody make time to use them. Lela explained what each of the moves were doing and how it would help my runners body. She was knowledgeable, funny and supportive.

I used my normal tactics of humour (noticing the dust under my sofa) and storytelling to distract, but I still got a good hour long workout, including one section with a ring thingy which really got my glutes going.

Lala works on a freelance basis for a company called Home Health Pilates, and they deploy instructors to 121 sessions in your home like this one, into the workplace and for small groups of friends in parks etc.

On their website is says,

Our fantastic team of reliable, fun and dynamic instructors deliver private Pilates London in the comfort of your own home. Pilates at home is convent and we fit in around you. Pilates is a tricky skill to learn and the most effective way to do so is with private one to one sessions.

I agree. I have been to a pilates class at a gym before, but there are so many people around that you never quite know if you are doing it right and the coach can only do so much. Also for me the rigmarole of getting to a gym and back again for a 1 hour class just doesn’t seem worth it. But if you work from home like me then it literally is an hour out of your day.

I now feel confident enough to do a bit of pilates at home on my own, and will perhaps in the future book Lala to come and check in with me every now and again when it suits my schedule.

So today as I get myself geared up for another busy week, I look at my diary and wonder where I am going to fit in any exercise. With a marathon fast approaching I know I need to keep active, but at this late stage in the day I think its more important I stay injury free and get to the starting line with fresh legs and not completely shattered.

Marathon training has not gone to plan for this, my first Autumn marathon, so I will be deploying a walk run strategy right from the start (for the first time EVER) and will simply enjoy the marvellous views I am told about for this race.

It feels a bit odd to be writing a book on Marathon Training and not be going into this one in the best shape of my life, but I think that is kind of the point of the book. Each marathon is different. They each come with their own challenges. There is no right and wrong way, only the way it ends up turning out.

Tomorrow I start working with 20+ women training for their first spring marathon. We still have a few places if anyone is interested. I also have around 10,000 words of my new book to write before it goes off to the editors on Friday.

Just a small group of ladies that were part of my London Marathon team last year

Sometimes in life it can be overwhelming to look at the bigger picture. You start on day one of a marathon plan and think “Crikey, how will I ever get to the point where 16 miles is a training run?” likewise when writing the thought of sitting down at a desk and getting your thoughts down on paper, all 80,000 of them seems impossible.

But take away the pressure, the fear, the overwhelm and focusing on each training session, each hour slot of writing you have, and bit by bit, step by step, paragraph by paragraph it starts coming together.

Sometimes though it does become too much. You need a weekend off. You need to move away from your desk for a toilet break, and to get some fresh air…and that is ok too.

Sometimes we just need to take a break so we can come back more focussed, more determined and more fired up.

Vertical_3D_cover_version“The Fat Girls Guide to Running Marathons” is available as an ebook to preorder for just £6.99, and will be available as a paperback from early November.

It is already in the top 10 running books, perhaps you can help me get it to number 1. I am also looking for women who are able to review this for me in the first week of it going live, so please show your support, and get sharing in your networks.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Michael White and Lala Moutasakis from Home Based Pilates for letting me road test their 121 pilates sessions, I am most definitely a convert. You can find out more here

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