fitness · injury · martial arts

Christine is trying to focus on what she *can* do.

I was frustrated at myself in Taekwondo class last week.

This problem with my heel/toe/calf is making it extremely hard to properly execute my patters because I can hold my leg in the right position. And because I can’t put my leg in the right spot, my hands for get what to do. And then I end up facing the wrong direction and…so on.

I was feeling especially annoyed because I wanted to be preparing for my next belt test but this injury is really slowing my progress.

I’m the midst of all that annoyance, I had a flash of insight.

My physical practice is pretty limited right now but I could be studying my TKD theory. I could be practicing how to describe my patterns and how to teach them. I could be watching videos and observing technique.

A series of stick person drawings depicting different aspects of Taekwondo training.
Here’s a sketchnote I made when preparing for my last belt test. If made more of these, I could be enjoying creative practice AND preparing for my test. Image description: this is a drawing I made about the 9 training secrets in TKD. I have a series of stick people illustrating different aspect of the training and some text describing each one. The areas between the drawings are coloured yellow.

But, instead of doing all of that work that is freely available to me, I had been focusing on the one thing that wasn’t available to me right now.

Once I had broken that spell, I started to see all the other ways I had been letting my toe/heel/calf pain get in my way.

I’ve been able to walk each day but a lot of other cardio exercises aggravate my heel so I have been largely avoiding them.

When I started thinking in terms of what I *could* do instead of what I couldn’t, I remembered the seated cardio I did after an injury a few years back. I did a quick search on YouTube and have the one below a try – I really enjoyed it.

Link leads to a workout from Puzzle Fit called 20 minute strength and cardio workout for lower body injuries

I haven’t turned into Merry Sunshine. I’m still annoyed about my toe/heel/calf but I feel good about this change in focus. it better for my brain and for my body.

Have you benefitted from a chance in focus like this?

How did it play out for you?


Why hello rest day! I think I love you


Transitions are hard. Both Tracy and I have blogged about moving from summer mode to the start of a new university year.  (See my Switching gears at the start of the school year and Tracy’s Routines.)

For both of us it’s the end of our research leaves too.

We’re back in the classroom. (Hi, Western students who’ve found our blog!)

I don’t know about Tracy but me, I’m extra tired. My household contains one very serious high school athlete whose alarm goes off during the school year at 5 am for practice of one sort or another. We’re the morning people in our house. Also, we’re the people yelling “Turn down the music it’s  9:30 pm, I’m trying to sleep. But other family members like their late nights and sometimes it seems sleep is lost at both ends of the day.

There is a much earlier start to my days usually during the school term. Partly too it’s saying goodbye to midafternoon naps (perfect when you’re up early running/biking/Crossfitting etc and rowing or doing Aikido in the evening.)

I love this infographic How to Nap and my favourite nap is the caffeine nap. Basically drink coffee, nap before it takes effect, sleep for 20 min and wake up extra bright eyed and busy tailed. The coffee nap is perfect for when lots more work beckons.

I haven’t yet worked out how office napping might go. I’ve got a comfy chair so perhaps I should just bring in a blanket.

More than ever I need my rest day. Saturday I did the Gran Fondo, rowing practice Sunday morning, Crossfit Monday, rowing practice Tuesday, Crossfit and Aikido on Wednesday. Thursday was more rowing practice  and then today NOTHING. Thank God. I do find that recovery time matters more as I get older and that time between efforts matters a lot. I’m going to blog about the science of recovery and my experiences later, I think.

One advantage of my new Friday rest day is that there’s no teaching either! Yes, yes, lots of work to do. Grant application due, chapters to finish, drafts to write, papers to read, letters of recommendation to write. But no exercise until biking with friends (hi Tracy!) and Aikido on Saturday.

Past posts:l-Sleeping-sloths

In praise of rest days

Hello again rest day. It’s been awhile. I’ve missed you.

Aikido · diets · martial arts · Rowing · running · team sports

In praise of rest days

Fridays are my new rest days and I’m liking it. I’m a bit of a weekend warrior (running, cycling, rowing, soccer, AikIdo!) and it’s nice to start out Saturday fresh. Traditionally I’ve rested on Mondays–post weekend–but now I’m doing Crossfit that doesn’t quite work with my schedule.

I’m looking forward to a weekend of active fun. I’m doing test review in Aikido and I enjoy the intensity and focus of that process. My indoor soccer team plays our 3rd game Sunday afternoon and so far we’ve lost one and won one and I’d like to kick the stats back into our favour.

I’m especially happy today that it’s a rest day because I did a bit more than I bargained for on Thursday. Crossfit included rowing and then rowing practice included weights. Too many deadlifts!

It’s also a sleepy, grey rainy day with snow in the forecast.

What does this mean for me? First, I get to sleep a bit later (though not this morning, spouse’s early morning train to Toronto alarm woke me up, followed by a phone call from teenager at basketball practice who’d forgotten a much needed item.) Second, I try to eat very well on recovery days, lots of protein and colourful veggies. And third, I do keep moving but just regular stuff like walking the dog, housework, stretching etc.

In the spirit of feeling good about rest and recovery days, I thought I’d read some other women fitness bloggers on the practice of rest days:

Sit yo ass down! The importance of rest  by Krista Scott Dixon at Stumptuous

What does rest day mean to you? by fitknitchick

Focus on rest days by Fitnessista

How To: Incorporate Rest into Your Fitness Routine by Fitblogger

Enjoy your Friday! I will. Back on the mats at Aikido tomorrow morning.