A very fine line.

<Editor’s Note: I have a feeling this post might spark a bit of healthy debate and I don’t mind if it does. I do hope that it doesn’t send the wrong impression about my approach to training, though. I promise you that I am still on the balance bandwagon all the way. This post was a way for me to get my head straight and ‘in the game’ so to speak as things heat up around here. Annnd end side note…>

It’s getting all kinds of crazy up in here. As you saw from my big, bad (super-pretty) half marathon training plan the other day, I’m working really hard to balance it all.
…taking barre n9ne classes – to continue to hone my own practice.
teaching barre n9ne classes – to become the best instructor I can be.
…and training for the half marathon – so I can run a race I’ll be damn proud of.

But after I wrote up my plan, I immediately started re-thinking things. Shuffling classes around. On-days for running and off-days for running. Making sure not to overdo it one day only to set myself up for disaster (and junk miles) on another. I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to TAKE as many classes as I’d like to take, while also managing things as an instructor and oh yeah, fitting in the miles, too.

<insert crazy jiggering and re-jiggering of my training/barre n9ne plan about a million times over the course of an hour>

An exercise that proved to be very sobering.

Tina actually touched on this in her post yesterday and it really got me thinking. How far is too far? And, how “easy does it” is too “easy does it” (if that makes sense)?

It’s a very fine line.

…between maintaining good balance vs. overtraining.

…between going ‘balls to the wall’ all week for every single workout, only to feel like you’re about to crumple to the floor the next week.

…between pushing yourself to new highs with your workouts vs. pushing yourself smack dab into the wall. And hitting it hard.

A very fine line, indeed.

So what have I decided? For one, I’m going to be assessing my schedule week-to-week. To ensure that I’m not overdoing it in any one area. Teaching vs. taking class. Running hard and fast versus recovery runs. And resting. Oh yes, there will be resting.

What I’ve also decided? I can’t really “choose my battles” in terms of focus quite as easily as I could before. I can’t say that barre n9ne takes priority over running; nor can I say that running takes priority over barre n9ne. Yet I know I can’t make *both* a priority and expect to maintain good balance.

So what’s a girl to do? Quite simply: The best that she can.
…to maintain a semblance of balance where possible.
…to *really* listen to my body and be ready and willing to nix a workout or a run if and where needed.
…to avoid trying to be everything to everyone.

…and above all else, to be willing to be flexible (not easy for this Type A-er!)

I know this probably sounds very excuse ridden wishy-washy right now but I promise you it’s not – it simply goes back to that very fine line I talked about above. I literally do need to take my training on a week-to-week basis, to make smart decisions based on how I’m feeling at that moment in time.

Like I’ve always said, any plan is meant to be a guide, a tool, but not gospel. So that’s what I’m focused on doing. Toeing that very fine line, working that “inner tightrope artist” in me to the best of my ability. Being the best that I can be, on any given day.



52 thoughts on “A very fine line.

  1. well friend, i think thats a great idea. Reasses! I agree with MIZ, we must lisen more closely. Right now i am walking and yoga. Do i want to run, train, etc. Hell ya. But the body speaks to us. we just need to have the confidence in it to listen.

  2. i don’t think it sounds wishy-washy at all. and don’t let people judge you. you know your body best and you know what it needs. i think you’re taking a very balanced approach and doing what works for you! keep it up girl. you’re amazing.

  3. Definitely! I hate that my post yesterday seemed to come across as I want every workout hard hard tough tough. I’m not saying YOU took it that way, but others for sure did. It IS a balance and one that I whole heartedly believe needs to be walked carefully and even more on the cautious side than too hard side.

    • I didn’t take your post that way at all – I’m sorry that some did because it totally wasn’t your intent, I know this much about you! You are the queen of balance and living life to the fullest but also remembering to train hard but to train smart. Always. It IS hard to balance sometimes though – especially if you’re like me and get excited to just go go GO all the time. But I’m learning and listening as best as I can.

  4. I honestly think that you’re doing te right thing Jess. I’ve always had problems with rigid schedules because people get to attached to them and feel disappointment when they don’t stick to the plan. The flexibility that you’re showing just means that you’re training “smarter” and not “harder”. You’ll be pleased with your results.

    • Thank you so much, I’m totally onthe same wavelength with you on training plans — I’ve NEVER been one to stick to a very hard-and-fast training plan myself. The only reason I did so this time was to help me stay organized and to avoid overtraining entirely. I’m not one to look at it as gospel though because like you said – you’ll only feel let down and frustrated when the plan isn’t followed down to the letter. I am a HUGE fan of smarter, not harder!! (and wow that sounds like a total TWSS moment!!)

  5. I will be flat out honest and say that I do worry you might be taking on too much. But, I know you. I know you will be smart (even if I have to intervene once in a while LOL). The full marathon will ultimately be the front and center goal after a certain point. I think that at some point it will likely start to trump taking the barre class. But that’s temporary. And you’ll want barre as recovery I know. So….just constantly be aware and reassess. No strict scheduling. I know you have this!

    • I knew you’d be honest with me – and I hope you will ALWAYS be honest with me. I need you in my life my dear! I KNOW you’ll lay the smackdown if you think I’m overdoing things, I’d expect NOTHING less. I know you’ve been there and will help me if I need it, just like I’d help you if the tables were turned. You are the best. THANK YOU for your supportive words!!

      • And I always appreciate you being honest with me and calling me out too. That’s what friends are for right? We support each other but we also have each others backs and keep each other on track. Hello pot/kettle 😉

  6. This post makes a lot of sense to me. Since the beginning of January I’ve wanted to sit down and make a definite marathon training plan. I wrote out a tentative plan…in pencil, nonetheless, and I’ve been erasing on almost every single day! The thing is…each week for me is different. Whether it be tests to study for, or working too many hours, or that I just feel tired, I’ve had to change up my training plan so much. Somedays a girl just needs a nap! But I take advantage of the days I feel good and go for my long runs or do some speedwork. Long story short…sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and that’s okay. It all works out in the end!

    • Absolutely, Ang – in the end it *will* all work out. I just have to trust the process. Just like you are trying to do – trust the process, trust the path you’re on, and it’ll all (somehow) magically fall into place. Keep at it, girl!

  7. I also don’t think that this sounds wishy washy at all. It sounds like you are being smart and reasonable and keeping perspective on everything. You DO have a lot on your plate and I think that recognizing that you can’t be everything to everyone is huge as it that both running and barre n9ne. Believe me, I’m also completely Type A and being OK with not sticking to a strict plan has been hard but also healthy for me. Assess week to week but also make sure that you’re being honest in that weekly assessment.

    • That’s the key for me – I need to be UTTERLY honest with myself when I assess/re-assess each week. It’s key to making sure I actually do maintain that balance versus letting things swing too far to the right.

  8. excellent post and don’t worry about anyone who may judge…
    I love “Being the best that I can be, on any given day.” statement!
    and that’s what all of us should do…
    each of us is made differently, capable of different things and while it may appear to be over training to one, it may work for another…it’s all about what works for YOU!

    • Thank you!! That’s ultimately my goal – to be my best, in whatever shape or form that takes. Even if my “best” means pulling back when I need to. And thank you for getting my point — to each his/her own, right??

  9. I find that overtraining just caused more problems than it’s worth. So I’ve learned to cut back and realize that there’s always tomorrow if I can’t fit it in today.
    Sounds like you’re being smart and that’s the key to finding balance. You got this!

    • Oh it totally does cause more trouble (and issues) than it’s worth. I don’t even want to go NEAR that place which is why I’m going to do my damndest to assess, pay attention to body cues and just do my best every single day. That’s all I can do, right?

  10. I think your approach is a good one sis, as we have talked about, evaluate weekly. adjust as necessary. As you get deeper into marathon training and unchartered territory, you will know what needs adjusting and where to cut back to switch up. I think the hardest part to wrap your mind around is that this is a change in your ‘normal’ and that in itself takes adjusting to, just as this new schedule will, for your body and your mind. And I’ll be the voice on your shoulder telling you if you are overdoing it. Mmk? 😉 But as long as you see your plan as just that – a plan – and not ‘must stick to’ then you are golden.

  11. I’m feelin’ ya. I know when yoga teacher training starts later this month, I’m not going to want to be anywhere but on my mat. At the same time, I LOVE cardio workouts and am still planning to run some portion of the Cleveland Marathon races. One of my big lessons for 2012 is to strive for excellence, but not necessarily perfection. They are indeed two different things, and reaching for the second one can get you into some serious trouble. Stay sane, stay healthy and stay realistic – and you’ll reach all your goals.

    • Ohhhh “strive for excellence, not necessarily perfection” — can I get an AMEN to that statement?? God I heart you — I swear we were meant to meet in this lifetime, you are SO GOOD FOR ME!!! xoxo

  12. I love this post! Your attitude is spot on. As we get older we have more and more responsibilities. I know right now balancing it all is so hard but there are things I’m not willing to slack on, like my relationship or family so that means some weeks I get 3 runs in not 4 and you know what? It’s ok. It’s ok to miss a yoga class once a week because I NEED to study or do something else. You have to fit it all in as best as you can! You’ll do great!

    • That’s exactly right — sometimes I have SUCH a hard time “giving up” a run in favor of xyz activity that deserves to take priority. But then, like you said, if you take the time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, you realize something. That one missed run is NOT going to make or break your training plan. Like at ALL, right?? It’s all about perspective!

  13. I think using a training plan as a guide is key. You can’t control everything and you certainly can’t stop your life to train. I like your attitude. We should do a training run together sometime!

  14. I totally know where you are coming from training for a race and being an instructor is a challenging thing to work out! I am a fitness instructor and training for ironman so I have to make sure I don’t overdo the teaching and not leave room for training. Good luck! Sure is a fine line!

    • Ohh I’m so glad you know where I’m coming from re: teaching vs. taking class vs. everything ELSE you want to do fitness-wise. At some point, something does have to give – and for you, the Ironman will take precedence over taking other classes, and the same will hold true for me as I get deep into marathon training this summer.

  15. It sounds pretty balanced to me—I’m all about having an overall goal, but then adjusting the plan on a weekly basis to incorporate how the past week went into the new week’s plan!

    • Exactly — I’m already seeing that week-to-week thing taking shape right before my eyes. And you know what? Adjusting to weekly tweaks to the schedule isn’t as bad as I was fearing it would be. I can do this!

  16. I think that listening to your body is key. This is particularly difficult when you work in the fitness industry as well as train for your own goals.
    I teach 4-5 fitness classes per week and I’ve learned (the hard way!), that any more than that and I can’t work on my own fitness goals too.
    I used to be the instructor that everyone went to when they needed a sub (I hated to say ‘no’); now, I only sub when I’m reciprocating and make sure that it doesn’t throw my own training plans off!
    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  17. This is great Jess. I love that you know there will be times when you need to back off, and you’re perfectly okay with that. You know your body and know exactly when to push and when to not push, and it is a very fine line.

    I know this – and this post speaks to me even more because I’m starting to ramp up again and add much more to my workout routine as well. We’ll definitely have to keep each other in line and make sure we’re staying on the fab, fit, and injury free train! 😉

    And Heather’s right – there will come a time during full marathon training that other things will have to take some of a back seat. Not completely, but running will become more of a top priority than other things. Especially when you get into the really high mileage long runs. But it’s all about balance, something you do well.

    • I totally appreciate your view on this, friend. Seriously. As you said, I know that once I get deep into marathon training, I will ultimately have to pull back on my beloved barre n9ne…but for now, I’m pushing that from my mind until it’s needed. And will make the tweaks I need along the way to make sure I’m not sacrificing one for the other or vice versa. Ultimately, I want to be everything to everyone but I KNOW that’s not realistic nor is it sane (or healthy) so choosing my battles along the way is something I’ll be getting used to, I’m sure!

  18. I think that you’re not going to know what is too much and what isn’t until your in the throws of it. Just remember to listen to your body (I get cranky when I’m overtraining but don’t always feel bad physically) and take a rest day if you need to, even if it’s not on your schedule.

  19. definitely doesnt sound like you’re making excuses..you clearly work your ass off. you only have 1 body and it’s actually amazing how much it can do…but that being said, you have to respect it and give it the time it needs to rest. i know it can be SO hard and its so easy to beat yourself up over taking time off…but its always better in the long run.

  20. I’ve always been a week at a time kind of girl. I have to juggle my body’s ability to workout with all the rest of my life. Once in a while, the stars align and my body feels great and ready to push and I actually have time for that. But generally, I create a weekly plan and then move things around as my body and my schedule dictate.

    • You’re right – I’m already feeling more at-ease knowing that I’m looking at things week-to-week vs. holistically. Much easier on the mental state (and the body of course, too)!

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