Project242 (P242) is my journey to bike 242 miles in 24 hours, across the state of Minnesota on gravel roads, in August, 2021 (the Day Across MN, or the DAMN). I’ve found many lessons experienced riding a bike can be applied to our careers. In these posts, I will share the correlations.
Three days ago I biked 62 miles. Two days ago, 30. Yesterday, another 50. Add in a couple short runs and one 45 minute circuit workout, it was no wonder I was having a hell of a time getting out of bed.
The other reason I wasn’t moving too well is at the end of any of those workouts, I didn’t stretch! At 40+ years old, that’s one of the most important post-workout routines I should be doing. But since I workout early in the morning, when I get home I have to get the dog out, check emails from last night or early that morning, help a kiddo, and who knows what else.
Stretching keeps the muscles flexible and healthy, which is needed to maintain a good range of motion. Otherwise, the muscles become shortened and tight. When they’re needed again for a workout, they could be weak and unable to extend. That also puts you at risk for injury.
Having learned the hard way in a previous race training regimen, if you don’t make time to stretch, make time for injury. I trained and trained, with little time for recuperation. I got wound up so tight, eventually a calf muscle went and kept me off my feet for weeks.
I could feel my body getting wound tight again from all the biking. That’s not good! And for that reason, out came the foam rollers and hand-held massagers to help work their muscular magic.
In my career, I’ve had something similar happen. Because I want clients to be successful, will work hard to deliver results. In one instance, that meant working 12+ hours a day six days a week, on calls late and in the middle of the night with offshore teams, scrolling through 400+ emails a day, frequent travel, and generally not taking good care of myself. I was wound tight, and eventually I broke. I was SO sick, I couldn’t get out of bed for 3 days and it took another week before I felt like I was getting back to myself.
I wore myself out to the point of failure. My client was thankfully understanding. Those on my team told me they saw it coming. Many of them were experiencing burn out from being wound up tight too.
I freely talk about that experience and am determined to not let it happen to myself again. Because life is hectic, we take little time for ourselves to decompress and stretch out. Instead, we keep going and going, getting wound tighter and tighter until SNAP! Your health is important, both physical and mental, so you need to take care of yourself.
Take time to “stretch out”, whether literally (after a workout) or figuratively (take a break from your hectic schedule). Don’t get wound up too tight where you eventually snap. You, and those who rely on you, will appreciate it!