Managing Monster Month

Monster Month: otherwise known as the point during marathon training where you forget why you wanted to do this because you are so tired you can’t think straight any more.

I know that hitting my highest weeks of mileage is going to make me feel exhausted, there’s really no getting around that fact.

While I have got to say that the reality of this has kind of crept up on me this time round, what needs to be done is simple enough. You must keep going.

That’s it and that’s all.

Minimize whatever else is going on in your life, get used to the fact that for the next few weeks you are going to feel – at best – shattered, put your head down and get to work.

exhausted-kitty

Here’s a tired cat. Because you don’t want to see a picture of me when I am tired. It’s not pretty and there’s a lot more yelling involved.

This year training is a new beast for me because I am no longer working from home. I have had to manage my time better and put a lot of my usual extracurricular activities on hold (Hello? Social Life? See you sometime in October!). But it can be done.

My tips on getting through Monster Month:

 1. Sleep

However many hours sleep you are currently getting, add more. You really can’t overdo it.

cinnamon sleeping

Say hello to Cinnamon – this is a little closer to what I look like exhausted, in cat form. Still prettier than me… 

Rest is THE number one recovery tool in my arsenal. It’s so simple, but deceptively difficult to put into practice. Dealing with rule number 2 will help…

 2. Stress less

Life is life, and things will get in your way, but perhaps Monster Month is not the time to worry about sending in cupcakes for your child’s bake sale at school, or to fret that you didn’t give 110% during Tuesday’s work meeting.

No, now is the time to cancel the weekly dinner with your in-laws, order takeaway on a Sunday night instead of cooking and shrug when your child leaves for school with a dirty t-shirt on.

Concentrate on what is important and let everything else slide. No one will die if you don’t clean the bathroom. Trust me, I’ve tested this theory repeatedly.

 3. Eat as well as you can

Where this does not contravene rule 2

Yesterday I ate an entire avocado…and two large pieces of sponge cake with jam and cream. If you have to worry a little about what you eat then perhaps the cake is not a good plan, but otherwise, listen to your body.

Some of you might not believe me, but if you give yourself permission to eat anything, your body will tell you what it needs. Trust in yourself, your body will demand broccoli just as forcefully as it asks for donuts, if you only listen to it.

At the moment mine says it wants tins of tuna, slices of cheese, broccoli, avocado and lots of juice (preferably pineapple). So I eat that. THEN I eat the cake.

Eat well, a few treats, and feed yourself what you need.

 4. Rehydrate

Do not let yourself get dehydrated. It will affect both your runs and your recovery. As the professionals say – your wee should be a lovely light straw colour.

Urine_Chart

Who knew wee could be so pretty…

5. Treat every run like a long run

By this I mean, use your recovery tools as often as possible.

Foam rolling, massage, stretching, strength exercises, ice baths, compression gear, whatever works for you. Do a couple of these things after every run, instead of just after your long runs.

6. Have a perfectly timed and carefully planned meltdown

IMAG0314

…and then go on holidays for a week. Seriously, if you can time your holiday to coincide with the last week of Monster Month you will be FINE

Okay, not everyone will be able to manage a meltdown, er…I mean manage to get away on holidays, but otherwise, items 1 to 5 are all there is to it. Honest.

Hey! I said it was simple, not easy.

I could get more complicated and weigh in with details on protein shakes, physio appointments and so on, but chances are you have NO time to do anything extra and are too exhausted to bother anyway.

During Monster Month your body is continuously recovering from what is probably the highest amount of mileage it’s ever had to deal with. Give it a little TLC and you’ll feel better, run better and have much less chance of getting injured.

Soon I’ll be posting some photos of the holiday so far that should make everyone nice and jealous, but first I have to get through my last proper long run of Monster Month. 3+ hours traipsing around Noosa National Park before it gets too hot.

IMAG0316It’s 7:30, and I know it’s already ‘too hot’ out there for my Melbournian body but hey, I’ll miss it once we get back home!

 Seeya on the flipside of 30k’s!!!

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