Health + wellbeing

What I learnt from falling over

- November 16, 2020 5 MIN READ

This time last week I set out on a run. A short while later I was lying on the ground in a little ball, trying to work out how I got there.
Lets go back a few steps. If only I could.

I am an early riser and my alarm starts buzzing at around 5am. To be honest, I am not leaping out of bed every morning with enthusiasm but I do recognise that if I don’t get up, I don’t exercise. If I don’t exercise I get mad. Lets just say I am not my best version of myself without exercising.  Ask anyone in my house and I have no doubt they will gladly tell you.

I am also not a great sleeper. I’ve struggled with this for years and sleep for me is an ongoing project that continually does not pass the mark. More on that later.

My running buddy Karin and I work well together because we rarely cancel on each other and we run at the same pace.  This pace varies wildly depending on the day, the week, the pitch blackness of the morning, whether we have worn the right socks, clothes and the presence of any injuries but hey, we are out there.

It’s a shame that the smarter part of my brain does not process a lot of information at this time of the morning. However, on the other side of the coin, the lack of processing and critical thinking at 5am does allow one to be on autopilot and get out there before the reality is registered. 

So with all that in mind, here we are setting out for our usual Tuesday morning run last week.

Mix The Run Up They Said

Karin and I are creatures of habit and pretty much run the same route twice a week.  This route is along the coast and because it is just so gorgeous, we find it hard to tear ourselves away from it.  We always run in a northerly direction because we agree that section is much nicer than going south.  Even as I write this, I know this makes no sense at 5.30am in the morning when it is pitch black for half the year and there is nothing to be seen. During winter it can also get incredibly windy and wild but still, there we are on the SAME path.

Last Tuesday morning, we made the momentous decision to run south. 

Spontaneity here we come.

Before I go on, let’s be clear that it was still dark. Others would disagree but that is my truth.

Both of us were feeling pumped about being so inventive and then BOOM. Five minutes into our brand new route, a tuft a grass appears out of nowhere and trips me up.

For those of you that have fallen over recently, you will remember that surreal feeling as you fly through the air with not a single bit of control over what happens next. Inevitably what does happen next, usually involves skin being left behind and the possibility of snapping bones.

Once that little flying sideshow had come to an abrupt halt with the tuft of grass and several other people looking on, I laid there assessing the damage. My first very large concern was for my active wear. Were there any holes?  Anyone who has purchased a piece of active wear will understand the dollar signs that were flashing before my eyes.

Secondly, I congratulated myself on doing an expert downward dog, transitioning to plank and then cobra all in motion, missing my face altogether. Namaste to AthanaeMia and Sarah for showing me those skills. I also noted that all bones seemed to be in one piece and I again felt thankful that I loved dairy products and was constantly funnelling all that calcium into them.

Unfortunately, various patches of skin had not fared as well and even as we speak, the mending process continues.

I would like to say that falling over is a totally new experience for me but sadly I do have a small portfolio of my earlier works during a run.  It’s not just me either. The only other time we strayed inland due to the wind a few months ago, Karin did an impressive somersault and forward roll while we were out running, so I am not alone people. Not at all.

What does this have to do with you?

I am betting that at some stage in your life you may have been tripped over, either literally or figuratively. You may have had to lie down, maybe not next to a tuft of grass but it may have been on the carpet, under a desk or even a handy tree when your body or brain has not done what it was supposed to do.

Whilst I was enjoying the coolness of that small tuft of grass, there was a moment in time to ponder what went wrong and what I could do differently.  You might find these things handy too. 

Forget about peptides, EPO and other fancy pants potions to lift your physical performance – here are my top tips for not falling over.

1. Rest Up Before You Run (Or Do Anything Really)

It can only be a good thing to get enough sleep and feel rested when you wake up in the morning.  There are many things that can impact on whether this happens or not but it is absolutely the key ingredient to performing at your best. I have written about sleep before today and you can read more about my thoughts on being sleeping beauty here.

I am currently trialling a weighted blanket, which I am sure will be helpful once I adapt to not sweating like a pig and thinking I have a sandbag draped over me. Watch this space and by all means, share your thoughts if you have got up close and personal with one of these heavyweights.

Seriously though, do your best to get enough good quality sleep.  Your feet are most definitely more able to lift and bypass obstacles when out and about. Regardless of what you are doing.

2. Look Down And Around

There are plenty of inspirational quotes and memes around to remind us to look UP and see the world. This is all well and good but what about looking down too?  If you don’t look down, you can’t see what’s in front of you.  Yes, it can be refreshing not to know exactly what is coming up in life but doing a little gazing into the near future ahead of you can bring its own rewards.

Right now, it’s a little difficult to look too far ahead but it doesn’t need to stop you having an eye on possibilities.

Mix Things Up

Karin and I have had a team meeting and agree that running the same way all the time can only lead to boredom and lack of motivation. We also agree that falling over is not an ideal part of the training schedule.

Keeping your exercise or other routines in life fresh as a daisy is key to staying the course.  When things become ho hum, the likelihood of keeping healthy habits and behaviours up, is much less likely. You don’t need to be continually reinventing the wheel but doing something different just once each week can put a pep in your step. The same principle can be applied to a new recipe for dinner, scheduling in ‘you’ time or dare I say, taking a different direction or path.

This article was written by Julie Meek, peak performance coach. 


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