February 10, 2013

Mental Fatigue vs Physical Fatigue

This week has been a tough one. Extra long work days, very little sleep and lots of stress and worry left me struggling. But wait!... I'm not here for sympathy, I'm coping and everything will be back to normal soon so I'll be able to take some time to catch up with myself.
What I am here for is to share something I read earlier in the week from this post on Runners World...
'Don't confuse mental fatigue with physical fatigue. Researchers from Bangor University in Wales report that short-term mental fatigue doesn't impact the physical function. So it's your mind - not your body - that craves downtime. And running is the perfect antidote.'
I'm pretty sure I was both mentally and physically exhausted this week, though this did encourage me to get out and run. I have to admit that from the moment I woke up on Wednesday I was thinking of excuses not to go, but I'd arranged to run with Lou and didn't want to cancel so I had a word with myself, manned up and went. Would you believe it was the BEST run I've had in ages! Similarly on Saturday, feeling pretty shattered, I still put on my trainers and ran some trails. I'm so glad I did as it was a great day to be outdoors and I ended up running stronger than I had expected

What I've realised is that I'm physically more able to cope with all of this than I thought, and that for the most part it's my mind that's struggling with the sheer volume of things I try to do at the same time.

Now, as I write this post, I think about the times when I've been the most under pressure and that somehow I always end up lacing up my trainers to escape for a bit even when I don't really feel like it. Most people I know think I'm bonkers, they assume the best use of that hour or two would be to sleep instead of doing something that will make me more tired. But what they don't realise is that the time I get to myself is invaluable. I can clear my head of things that have wound me up and by the time I get back I feel like a different person who is refreshed, energised, positive and able to cope with whatever I need to do.

All in all I think it's important to recognise that there's a balance. Sometimes that hour might be best spent sleeping (like today!), but sometimes fatigue is more mental than physical, and a run or brisk walk might be just the remedy to turn a tough day around.

1 comment:

  1. I struggle with this a lot. I have been determined to run. You are actually a big inspiration to me. But because of my illness its hard. First I have to find the energy and mentally prepare myself. When I start running, I am good. After a while, I feel like I need to stop, but I find that after a while, I don't want to anymore. There seems to be a line that I just need to push myself to reach. Once I am there, its not so bad. I have just started my C25K, Im in week 2 now and am looking forward to doing it each day. I can do this!
    And I have given you the Liebster Award! You can read about it on my latest post
    Much love and have a wonderful week!


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