Batteries are something that we all live by these days. How much percent do I have left on my phone is probably the most common however, recently I have been thinking more about my battery, my personal battery. Now, this topic has been on my brain for quite a while now but probably the biggest reason was that I got in my first major vacation for the first time in just over two years. This vacation was needed. I love my work and love my daily life. I love waking up at 5am, getting the gym ready for my athletes for 6am, and keeping the day going until about 6 or 7pm. I read, I type, I plan, I work, and it continues and through some positive strategies such as sleep, nutrition, and a few outlets (Netflix) it never seems that bad. This process drains and recharges the battery. Usually it stays in equilibrium. However, every now and then there is a bigger trip, weekend, conference, meet, or something which drains the battery just a little bit more.
Now, when my vacation and trip to Korea for one of my best friend’s wedding finally came I was ready for my break. My time away from track. My battery was nearly empty. The grind was becoming harder and harder. However, the funny thing was this was only temporary. For the first few days in Korea I didn’t check my phone at all. I didn’t even think about track and coaching. A slight exaggeration but you get the idea. The best part was I could feel the battery recharging. I could feel my brain, my desire, and that little voice inside saying “let’s read an article, study, plan” getting a little louder each day. Now, don’t get me wrong either I love Korea and 12 days was way too short for what I wanted to do. Korea is just so much a part of me and who I am today that I just feel comfortable there. The food, the people, the sights. But at the same time I was getting more excited at the thought of getting home, getting back to the grind, and coaching. That is who I am!
All of it just makes sense to me when I am over there and this is probably one of the reasons why the battery recharged as well as it did. So a wedding, being a power tourist, and far too many late nights resulted in a physically tiring vacation but a mentally recharging one.
So when I got back to Saint John it was hard. Jet lag and recharging the physical battery took a few days and with a trip to CIS XC Nationals in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a trip to Toronto of the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centres Speed and Power Conference it continues to take some time. Most recently I was on a panel presenting at the NB Coaches Summit on habits of a successful coach and assisting at ANB’s Sprints and Hurdles Summit. So you can forgive me if I am looking forward to a few weeks at home in December with no flights, no hotels, but just time. But until then there is still a track meet next weekend and a few days in Calgary as part of the Coaching Centres mentorship program where the focus is on the multi-events. But as physically taxing the last couple of weeks have been and catching up on the to do list has been a grind the mental battery is still feeling great. I am eager for more and thankfully ‘more’ isn’t going to slow down any time soon…at least not for the next three weeks. And honestly I don’t want to slow down.
So what can I take from this. Mental well being is key. Keeping the battery levels in check are key. Being able to take care of the physical side, the body through sleep and nutrition is key. But one thing that sometimes gets neglected is being able to hit pause. To plug in your cable and start recharging the battery. Usually we might call this the check out time. Check out for a night or for a day. Sometimes through a movie or an all-day Netflix binge. We all have our own ways to recharge and it is important to respect those individual methods. Sometimes I put so much into my athletes that I fail to realize that if I am not at my best then what good am I to my athletes. I educate, discuss, share, lecture, and talk about it from an athletes perspective but very rarely do I and we as coaches remember that all the same principles apply to us. But while I must say mentally I am in a good place right now and feeling good physically I still need some work. I can honestly say that I have put on a few more pounds then I am proud of. So while some will talk about resolutions at this time of the year I will talk about plans. My plan is to go for a few more walks around campus, to get in a run or two a week. That way, slowly and surely, I will get it all under control and get all sides of the physical battery in synch with the mental one.