February 12, 2011

How To: Beat The Mid-Season Blues

We're well and truly in the thick of it now. With the season starting in some areas as early as the end of August, and with no end in sight yet, many skaters (and parents alike) will be starting to feel the strain.

I always got a little overwhelmed come the New Year, especially after the joyous holiday period, and the return to the bleak white nothingness that is the month of January!

Evidently if you are honestly happy skating, and want to be there of your own accord then your efforts will always feel worth it in the long run. But even die-hard athletes get tired of the routine, and something needs to give if you want to round off your season on a (or several!) high note(s).

When I was in the thick of my busiest training months (approx. 5 hours on ice per day, followed by 1 hour off ice per day, 6 days per week), I needed to do something to feel normal again. Here's how I dealt with it:

Take time off. I know this may seem madness to many, but I always performed much better after a break. You're not going to forget your program, and you're not going to forget how to jump double axel, if you take a week off from your training regime. The skating knowledge you've acquired is tacit (like riding a bike). You'll get back on the ice, and go! Taking time off doesn't necessarily mean going on holiday. It can mean staying at home, seeing friends, just plain chilling out.

Eat something you don't normally allow yourself. You'll feel treated, and this will help overcome the sense of monotony you're experiencing.

And speaking of treats... Do something awesome. Like a spa day. Get your nails done. Take the day for you. Start with a breakfast of fresh orange juice and a yoga class. Progress to a beauty treatment and lunch with the girls. Tuck yourself in for an early night after an aromatherapy bubble bath, with soft music and/or a good book. Chopin works for me every time. Now here's the catch: do this mid-week. No this isn't a Sunday. This is a Wednesday. It's about breaking your routine and reminding yourself you are special.

Tone down on the practice hours. If I was preparing for something important and felt tired, but couldn't bring myself to take a day (or more) off, I'd simply go to practice, do one of everything, and leave. This will give you a sense of achievement without the worry of "can I get it back together just before the big day". You also may not want to lose your cardio level if you're running up to an event, so running your program once through will keep you on edge.

In any case, most athletes end up finding the right way to wind down. I think I read somewhere Sasha Cohen likes shopping with friends. You get the idea.

Ps. This all works for worn-out skating mothers too ;)

How do you take the pressure off? Does your child have a special thing they like to do to help feel re-energised mid-season? Please let us all know in the comments section below!

Have any questions, want to know more, don't agree? Please leave me a comment!
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