Tag Archives: motivation

Keeping Motivated Through Trying Times

Is there such as thing as keeping motivated in trying times or is it simply perception? You be the judge.

I have had my fair share of challenges as a result of being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2014. Trial drug programs, disease induced depression, monthly Oncology visits, Medication induced shingles, weight gain of 15kgs from steroid treatment and knowing that every time I get a cold I am not getting out of bed for a week and three rounds of antibiotics later I’m starting to feel better. This in combination with generally not feeling like getting out of bed due to the crippling pain is something I have barely spoken about until now but had to deal with behind the scenes over the past four years at one time or another.

The reality is there are many people worse off than me, I am not dying – I just have a chronic illness and, in spite of that, I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

FullSizeRender (002)Since being diagnosed with RA I have achieved an Ironman, one Ultra Marathon, two half Marathons, my first Trail Ultra Marathon and two half Ironmans. I have taken an overseas assignment in Manila and built a very successful sustainable team. I transitioned out of fast moving consumer goods into retail and have since found myself working for the number one beer brand in the world in my dream role leading an incredible team. All the while I found the time to give back to a sport that taught me so much about myself and my limits by volunteering for the position of President of the number one triathlon club in Victoria (@BaysideTriathlonClub) and on the Board of Triathlon Victoria.

With all of this the one achievement I have been most proud of is being able to be here today to tell you my story and represent the Tish and Matt and the amazing team at She Science.

To help me achieve all of these things my life has been based around goals, routine, under thinking things and amazing support from my close friends and family.

My goals are not all sporting based. In fact they are mainly career focused and I have some personal ones in there too.

If there is one thing that is clear to me you must always have a balance. Balance is good.

0658_51562Sonia Hanging Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My daily routine is as simple as getting out of bed, doing some sort of exercise, going to work and spending time with my husband and adorable bulldog and talking to my Mum and Dad on the phone.

So often in our work and personal lives the universe throws us challenges. The only way I have found to get through these has been to ”under think” what has happened and simply keep moving forward towards my goal. Easier said than done – I know! I used spend hours – even days – trying to understand why and what people were saying and how this could have happened. All the while I was burning energy on things I couldn’t control and feeding my disease. Life is too short.

Support comes in many forms. For me it’s picking me up off the floor when I have had a fit and fallen unconscious as my body has been overwhelmed with pain. Or it’s having someone to complain to for the brief moment I let the emotion get the better of me. It’s still being included in social events and friends understanding when I just don’t feel like coming. Most of all it’s the support I get on the ground, on the phone or on social media when I line up at that start line and achieve what I set out to do.

What’s next for me over the next two to three years? Monthly oncology visits, radiation treatment, hitting some hard core work goals, completing the F45 Challenge (thanks to the @F45Oakleigh Team for helping me achieve), Noosa Triathlon (wait till you see the She Science race kit), London Marathon (assuming I make the ballot), Kokoda Trial and Ultraman AU.

What’s next for you?

IMG_0002 (002)By Sonia Dunne

Sonia is an accomplished Ironman and Triathlete who has an unstoppable approach to life. She is also a She Science Ambassador. You can follow Sonia @sonia_D2277

 

Overtraining Syndrome – Signs, Symptoms and How To Manage or Avoid It

I suffered with Chronic Fatigue for three years after getting glandular fever in my early twenties. Previous to this I was your typical Type A overachiever- studying a science degree and then Physio Masters full time, working part time, training 15+ hours a week for triathlon and socialising. On top of this I severely restricted my caloric intake in an effort to be lean and fast and through a warped body image. Burning the candle at both ends and feeling invincible as I had lived like this for years and had seemingly unlimited energy- my friends called me “Duracell”!

Then I got glandular fever and fought and fought and refused to fully rest. This reluctance to surrender to what my body was telling me lead to me having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for years. Each time I started to get a bit better I pushed myself over the edge again. Finally I learnt to respect and listen to my body- I took a big step back from sport and focussed on wellness. Ultimately my body healed through natural therapies, a nourishing diet, rest, mindfulness and following my body’s intuition, but it took a long time and it was a long gradual build up back to training.

I am now back in competitive sport and performing better than ever. I train differently to how I used to and to others around me. I focus on quality sessions and not quantity and I take a lot more rest/recovery than my Type A mind tells me I should. I still slip up and overdo it sometimes, but now I can read my body and quickly correct my mistakes and recover.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is very similar to Overtraining Syndrome. It is a horrible hole to go down and can take years to recover. I have written this blog in an effort to help other athletes and overachievers avoid overtraining.

You can still be a great athlete and perform at your peak without jeopardizing your health.

What is Overtraining syndrome?

 Overtraining Syndrome is the result of an imbalance in exertion and recovery, generally over a sustained period of time. It is a maladaptive response to excessive exercise when not matched with appropriate recovery and results in changes to multiple body systems.

A person would be diagnosed with Overtraining Syndrome if they saw a sudden decrease in athletic performance and increase in perceived effort and this does not improve with rest.

What are the symptoms?

 Some or all of the following symptoms may be experienced. Generally the more advanced the Overtraining Syndrome is the more symptoms that will be experienced and the longer the recovery process.350064_419_Juno_LS_F17_001 BRK_F17_Sports_Bras_Spring_Juno_18462_i22778x04A_3u

  • Decreased athletic performance
  • Increased perceived effort and heart rate to previously “easy level” training
  • Ongoing fatigue that doesn’t dissipate with rest
  • Lack of motivation
  • Change in appetite
  • Depression or altered mood
  • Increased and /or unexplained Injuries
  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Decreased accuracy of fine motor skills and/or coordination
  • Hormonal changes
  • Weight changes
  • Increased illness and common colds

What causes it?

Too much stress (physical, emotional and mental) and not enough recovery is the main cause of Overtraining Syndrome.

Other causes are:

  • A rapid or sudden increase in training volume and/or intensity. Or a rapid or sudden increase in life load/stress without a reduction in training.
  • Insufficient sleep and/or recovery.
  • Diet also has a big effect. A poor diet- high in inflammatory foods and low in nutrients will increase stress to the body. Insufficient calories consumed to fuel training and life will leave the body depleted and unable to recover and adapt from training.

 How do I avoid it?

Be careful to look at whole life load rather than just your training load. All aspects of life can contribute to fatigue and stress so these must be considered when building a training program. If you have a high life load then you probably won’t be able to log as many hours of training as peers with less life stressors. This may change over time – for example if you are going through a stressful time then it would be wise to reduce your training load over this time.

  • Start any new training program gradually – ie: start with just one hard session per week and gradually increase as your body adapts.
  • Monitor your tolerance to your training and whole life load. Try to be objective and honest and don’t be influenced by what you think you should be able to do/need to do or what others are doing.
  • Monitor your response to training – if a session suddenly feels a lot harder than it should/usually does then take a few days of rest. If this feeling persists see a medical professional.
  • Take regular rest days and easy weeks. Taking every fourth week as a reduced mileage and easier effort week is common in many training programs.
  • Take at least one easy recovery day after every hard training session. Be honest with yourself about how much recovery your body needs – you may need two or three days to be ready to train hard again.
  • Take easy recovery days/weeks after racing as required. This will vary depending on the length of the race and whether it was performed at maximal effort or for training. The longer the race the more recovery will be needed. Generally three days as a minimum increasing up to several weeks for long endurance races. Again, listen to your body.
  • Consume a healthy, balanced diet that contains adequate carbohydrate, protein and fat to meet your body’s needs for training and life.
  • Reduce foods that increase inflammation and stress in your body such as processed food, refined grains and sugars, fried foods, excess caffeine/stimulants/alcohol, any foods that you have/suspect you have intolerances to.
  • Drink plenty of water and replace electrolytes as needed during hot or long/hard training sessions and races.
  • Reduce emotional stressors in your life where possible.
  • Do something for you regularly that reduces your stress (not a training session!) such as having a massage, doing a yoga class or going to see a movie with a friend._HR21267
  • Participate in regular meditation. More and more evidence is showing that meditation and mindfulness is an effective way to lower stress and increase physical and emotional health. It may also make you more in tune with your body so you are better able to recognise when you need rest or an imbalance in the body that could become an injury. There are great apps and YouTube clips for at home guided meditations.
  • Try to get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Monitor your heart rate. Many athletes monitor their waking resting heart rate. If this increases above their normal they will take rest days or see a medical professional until it returns to their normal.
  • If you begin to see any signs of overtraining reduce your training, particularly the hard sessions and see a medical professional.

Images courtesy of Brooks www.brooksrunning.com.au

By Lauren Starr, Physiotherapist

blog pic vLauren Starr is a physiotherapist and also takes clinical pilates, hydrotherapy and yoga classes. Outside of work she spends her spare time running. She has competed in trail and road events but has currently shifted her focus to athletics.