We have busy lives. Work schedules, kids’ school schedules, kids’ extra-curricular activities, committees, volunteer work and the odd Netflix binge keep our days hopping, so how are we supposed to find time to do the things we loved in our more free-spirited years?
Our best solution is to become the ‘Weekend Warrior’, cram ‘me’ time in on the weekend, pray we avoid injury and hope to be fully functional for work on Monday. If this is your current lifestyle solution for reaching for your own goals and feeding your soul - how do you keep your body up to the task? Our recommendation: Have a PLAN!!
Recently, a group of friends and I, entered a team in a Ragnar Trail Relay, which sounded like so much fun at registration. It consisted of a team of eight women running three separate trails, approx. 8 km each, in 24 hours. So, we covered 290 km between us, transitioning from one runner to the next, eating and sleeping (optional) in between our relay legs and cheering each runner in and the next runner out. We camped, cooked, stretched, laughed, cried and swore our way through the 24 hours on about four hours of sleep while running 24 km each.
For those of you that think this sounds like fun….it was an amazing experience. But, how did we make it work and still keep our jobs come Monday? We had a great PLAN in place!
1) Plenty of hydration: good ol’ water was our go-to (we saved the more ‘celebratory’ type of drinks for the finish). Each of us added our choice of electrolyte as needed, but mainly kept the water flowing. Your body cannot function well when dehydrated and your risk of injury increases as soon as your levels dip by as little as 2%.
2) Lengthen and release your muscles: we stretched and rolled to our heart’s content. We brought yoga mats and foam rollers and took at least 10 minutes after each run to give back to our bodies. It was important to realize that after pounding over rocks, roots, logs and up and down dirt trails and occasionally into trees - that your body needs some TLC! Stretching helps relieve the tension in the muscles, keeping them long and supple. Foam rolling can help with small knots and extra tight spots to help release the tissue for repair, especially when you only have seven hours before you do it all again.
3) Apply ice and heat: ice on the big bumps and heat on the achy spots; we had a 5-day cooler full of ice and a Coleman stove to heat up water for our hot water bottles. Tending to the small issues and not delaying was key to keeping them from becoming larger concerns and a potentially fun-ending injury.
4) Nutrition: ensuring that we all kept up our healthy food intake was essential. Eating was not usually the first thing you wanted to do, as sleep was the dream. But, we knew without proper nutrients, we ran the risk of injury, and potentially not being able to finish the relay.
So, whether you have a softball play-off weekend coming up or some of your best friends get you involved in something like a Ragnar Relay, a little bit of pre-planning can make Monday morning a whole lot easier.