Casual Athlete Syndrome
"You need to treat yourself like an athlete. You can't just sit all day, only to run 14 miles, immediately climb for hours, and show up here wondering why you are injured. Did you even drink water today?"
This was a comment made by my physical therapist many years ago, but I was reminded of it recently when I started to feel an ache in the back of my knee. Oh, no.
This past week, my whole left leg has been cramping. I dragged myself through my runs, feeling heavy, exhausted, and sore.
...I also stayed up late every night, drank more wine than water, and put off foam rolling until the knot in my calf was so big I couldn't bend my knee.
Old habits die hard, and I still suffer from what I jokingly call "Casual Athlete Syndrome." Whereas I am a casual runner who isn't going to win anything, so therefore I do not need to drink tart cherry juice, work on my core, or get normal amounts of sleep. I can just go hard and go home. Right?
Now- sitting at my computer, googling every Gastrocnemius Muscle issue known to man, I realize that to become a better runner, I need to do better. If I want to finish a full marathon and stay healthy enough to run my workouts, I am going to need to take myself (a little) seriously.
But training, it turns out, is more than what is done immediately before, during, or after a workout.
It is, I guess, a lifestyle. And for the next two weeks, I'm going to live it.
My (Outside of) Training Plan
Eat like an Athlete
Adios giant chocolate chip muffin. For the next two weeks, I am going to focus on anti-inflammatory foods, daily hydration goals, and timing. This includes eating within the recovery window and actually watching my macronutrients. Am I getting enough protein? Heck if I know! But I will next week?
Sleep like an Athlete
My goal will be 9 hours of sleep a night, with a consistent bedtime. This likely means cutting out late night glasses of wine, and swapping screens for books, all of which have been shown to disrupt sleep.
That cross training day? Not an excuse to climb your face off.
At least not right now. Instead, I'll be doing my old PT exercises and spending extra time on the foam roller. Preventative- how mature!
Will any of this matter? Will I see faster workouts, less pain, and more energy? Who knows- but I'll be sure to keep you updated!
Want to follow along on the daily? I'll be documenting these next two weeks on my insta stories @caitiedid.studios. Watch me stretch n' eat berries it'll be awesome.