Managing your energy levels to perform closer to your best, more of the time

After a big weekend of physical, mental and emotional exertion, I knew that yesterday was going to be a lower-than-usual energy day.
I took a team of 50+ members of my Facebook group On The Wagon to Wasing Park in Reading for Endure24, the 24 hour ultra marathon I’ve run twice as a solo runner covering 100 miles.
This time wasn’t about distance though, it was about the team.
#OTW started out about 3 and a half years ago and has grown and evolved in that time to become a ‘proper’ community.
Where people support each other, encourage each other, and challenge each other.
Usually it’s all done virtually, though Facebook (!) but this was the first time we had such a big group meeting up in real life.
So from the Friday night to the Sunday afternoon, we camped, ran, ate and rested together, as one big OTW gang and within our smaller teams.
It was an incredible weekend, but also predictably tiring.
After any weekend of physical, mental and emotional exertion, I knew that yesterday was going to be a lower-than-usual energy day.
We know that we need to balance physical exercise with rest, because this is what allows our muscles to recover and grow.
But the same thing applies to emotional and mental exertion. 
After any intense period where you’ve had to be on your A-game, with lots of mental focus where you’re ‘always on’, or in an emotionally charged situation, you need to take time to recover afterwards.
Even being out of your usual environment can elevate those background stress levels.
The survival part of your brain is constantly scanning to figure out if there’s a threat.
When you’re at home this scanner can relax a bit, but you don’t get the same down-time when you’re away in a new environment and can’t predict what might happen next.
And although there usually is no threat, it’s those background levels of ‘on-ness’ that can drain you the next day.



Resilience = stress + recovery
Physical stress, emotional stress, mental stress… we need to build in periods of recovery in order to GROW from them.
For me yesterday that meant a day of low-pressure activities.
A later alarm clock and more relaxed morning routine.
Less thinky tasks planned for the day.
Lots of good food, plenty of water and rest.
And minimal pressure to perform.
I think that last one has always been the key for me.
When I know that I’ll likely be feeling depleted, I can avoid getting caught up in negative thoughts and emotions that inevitably occur.
Knowing that they don’t necessarily reflect reality, and that they will pass in a short amount of time.
My energy is definitely on the bounce back today and thankfully I’m not carrying any niggles from the weekend either.
I’ve got my ultra swim-run Frog Graham Round challenge in just 3 weeks’ time, so I’m in full on final-prep mode for that from here.
Any time I’ve felt a bit low these past couple of days, I’ve just looked at this photograph from the weekend as it makes me laugh every time!