Joe here - Distance is cumulative.
The further you go, whether in training, racing or life the more you accumulate.
Alongside the incredible experiences and adventures you also accumulate stress and fatigue.
We should all know the term - allostatic stress. This is our cumulative stress load from all areas of life - physical, mental, emotional, cultural, spiritual - both current and past. That's right, stressors from the past can influence on a continuum from minor to major.
Somehow I missed the memo re: allostatic stress.
Along with the accumulation of obvious training & racing load, I was less obviously (to me at least) accumulating stress through periods of caring for sick family members, normal day-job up's and down's, loss and grief, moving homes, relationships, etc. I think we can all relate to the sheer volume of life events that both delight and disrupt.
But when it gets all encompassing it can be difficult to recognise the need to slow or stop.
Remember, stress + rest = growth.
Cumulative stress with no rest = not good.
Here are 5 simple things I do consistently to manage my allostatic stress load and perform to the best of my ability in life and sport.
1. Mind-set check- I do a weekly mind-set check. Where do I feel stuck? Where am I flowing? What can I do to unstick myself? How can I support what is currently flowing? What stories am I telling myself? Which ones are supporting my confidence & which ones are undermining my confidence? I take my time with this. It's not a box ticking exercise. It's a performance one.
2. Personal Rest - less multi-tasking. More single-tasking. Rest, for me is gentle productivity. Rest for you may be a complete stop. Find your personal sweet spot and spend time there consistently and unapologetically (that's right close the door if you have to).
3. Daily Nutrition - nutrition is cumulative too. Now, I'm lucky here because Jill looks after this part of our life. Cumulative nutrition combats cumulative stress. Nutrient dense, unprocessed, uncomplicated food really does support my body and mind. I eat regularly as long periods without food can play havoc with my brain function.
4. People check - I surround myself with folks that truly support me. Not everyone needs to help me but I minimise contact with the ones that chronically obstruct me. Of course there are disagreements and conflicts but I don't let them accumulate. Granted I'm better at this on 2-wheels versus 2-feet but I'm learning....and I'm better for it.
5. Picture check - sometimes the big picture is overwhelming and sometimes the details are uninspiring. I'm better at recognising the times when I need to rise up and feel the energy of the next horizon or when I need to contain myself and focus on the next mile. If I can only manage one mile that day then I do and I make sure I feel good about it.
Forward is also cumulative.
No-one is exempt from the effects of allostatic stress. It's all part of the journey. It's important though to get our hands around the width and breath of it and manage it better.
If this old road warrior can then I know you can too.