Hi! I’m Kris and I blog over at Canadian Girl Runs! I’m a fellow Albertan runner who lives in Edmonton and enjoys everything from trail running to road cycling to lifting weights. I’m a girl who thrives on adventure, and can be found most weekends hiking, trail running, or just getting as much fresh air as possible.
When Jen asked me to guest on her blog while she was traveling (lucky duck), I was in the middle of one of the most stressful weeks of my life. My running had fallen to the wayside and I had very little energy or motivation to get myself to the gym. That’s when I realized… THAT’S OKAY. In the span of a week, I moved into a new apartment, started a new job, and finished grad school by defending my Masters thesis to a panel of academic professors. One of the most important things I think we can do for our bodies is to listen to them. My mind was running a million miles a minute, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I could tell it was taking a toll on my body.
Acknowledging stress isn’t easy. I tend to ignore my body sometimes and feel like I “should” be exercising, or I should be using a day off for a long run or a double workout. I figure that if I can’t sleep I should be getting up and at the gym earlier then, right? An evening after work means I should be fitting a run in, right? It’s easier to feel guilty for missing a training session or not following through on a run you intended to do, but for overall health and wellbeing, acknowledge your stress. I promise you won’t lose the fitness level you’ve worked hard for.
Fresh air, healthy food, a good sleep, and the support and socializing of family and friends are some of my favourite ways to combat stress. Stress can be physical, mental, and emotional, so combatting mental stress with a million miles of running (aka physical stress) isn’t going to work. What I tend to end up with is an injury or a burnout, when really a day, or two, or five off, is better for my wellbeing that stress on stress on stress would be. I’ve found that acknowledging stress and listening to what my body needs has allowed me to bounce back with even more motivation and energy than before.
Exercise is wonderful. I love it and sometimes can’t get enough of it. There are times when my motivation dips and I feel abnormally tired or I’m running slower and can’t lift as heavy. It is these moments that I feel like I “should” power through and prove that I’m a real athlete, but no one thinks you’re a smart athlete when you injure yourself overtraining. Take a breath, realize it’s okay to miss a run, get a good sleep, keep your nutrition in mind, and acknowledge what your body needs. After my week of stress, I needed time to sleep and get back into it. I felt so much better lifting weights when I didn’t have so much weight on my mind (see what I did there). Running is easier too, when you don’t have emotions and stress weighing you down. Fitness shouldn’t hurt you, it should improve your health.
Happy running and I hope to see you all over on my slice of the web.
Where to find Kris: