The nature of my work, which is running a personal training business and being a holistic lifestyle coach, is one reason why I am usually on the low end of the stress threshold. I love what I do, and I also know a fair amount about taking care of myself.
The first two weeks of September, however, gave me an even deeper understanding of what true stress can feel like.
A little back story: I had just started training for my third New York City Marathon, and was feeling pretty good, when my wife and I had a massive flood in our home on August 31st, while we were both out of town. Gutting the place, saving what we could, working with water damage restoration teams, and moving…it all took its toll on us, mentally, physically and emotionally. I missed a week of marathon training, being just too wiped out from stress and lack of sleep.
When I jumped back into training, it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done— a 20-mile training run. Twenty miles on that day felt like the marathon itself, and I had to force my mind to override my body, which was telling me to stop running after about 10 miles. Our minds are powerful, and our bodies will adjust and push past former limits. However, if we don't do the right things to help the body repair and recover, it can be like trying to drive a car with one foot on the gas and another on the brake—at some point, something’s got to give.
Stress can be a huge “brake” on our system, which is what I felt on that 20-mile run. But imagine if I carried that stress around every week! There would be no way to complete the marathon and stay healthy. So, I’ve come up with a plan to eliminate the stressors in my life I can control, which will allow me to train effectively for the marathon. Take a look below and see if any of these stressors apply to you, and commit to eliminating them and see how you feel.
Here is my program to be prepared to run my fastest marathon on November 2, with as little stress on my body and mind as possible:
1. Quality Sleep: For me, that means no caffeine and a “Shady Management System.” (Shady is our cat, who occasionally likes to jump on my head at 3 a.m.)
2. Clean Eating: This means cutting out gluten, consuming minimal dairy, and having veggies for 2 to 3 meals a day.
3. Chi Building: Staying consistent with daily meditation and Tai Chi. Very important!
4. Running Fuel: Testing and re-testing what I consume pre-, post- and during the run.
5. Regeneration: Being consistent with rolling out tight tissue and doing flexibility work.
6. Hydration: Of course! For me, staying hydrated is drinking half my body weight in ounces per day, which comes out to at least 80+ ounces.
7. Staying Strong: Functional strength training sessions combined with yoga.
Bonus: Enjoy life to the fullest and run with love in my heart!
Daniel Lucas is one of the co-founders of Nimble Fitness, a premier health and wellness company located in New York City, which has been in business for over nine years. A strength and conditioning expert with numerous certifications, Daniel’s also a holistic lifestyle coach who has guided thousands of clients, from actors to schoolteachers to CEOs, to live healthier lives.