Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Training Weeks

Most weeks are pretty predictable in terms of their activities and their level of stress and busy-ness.  During predictable weeks, getting my exercise in is half about pure enjoyment and half about staying healthy.  I love working out and I am happy to make time every day to do it.

This week and next are NOT typical weeks.  Here's the story.  Three years ago, it was decided at work that we would organize staff training weeks.  Two weeks, back to back, where we would offer a lot of the mandatory training that all employees require (First Aid, CPR, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, rights training etc).  We would also offer training that, while not mandatory, would certainly be beneficial for everyone.  The idea was that we would create two identical weeks of training.  Half of the staff would attend the first week.  The other half would attend the second.  It allowed us to train a lot of people very quickly.  It allowed people from different programs to have a chance to mingle and share ideas.  It allowed us to keep all of our programs running during the training. It was, and is, a really good idea.

The task of planning these weeks fell squarely on my shoulders.  Creating the schedule, booking the trainers, planning and running full and half day sessions myself, planning meals, conducting evaluations and dealing with unexpected events (can you say blizzard?).  It was a lot of work and ended up being really stressful to coordinate (again - blizzard).

The first year, I was pretty stressed.  In fact, it was one of the most stressed times in recent memory.  I woke up on the morning of the first day to discover that several blood vessels had burst in my right eye.  One of the staff, a nurse, promptly announced that it was due to stress and said it would go away in a few days.  It did but, in the meantime, I looked like I had been in a nasty fight.  I also, by about day three, caught a nasty cold which made presenting for 8 hours straight a bit of a challenge.

I decided that I never wanted to be that stressed again.  Particularly about something work-related like that.

Year two, it was a lot better because I knew more what to expect.  I had worked out a lot of the kinks the year before but it was still pretty overwhelming and exhausting.

We're now into week one of year three.  This year, I am determined to take care of myself so I can finish the ten days feeling sane and relatively rested.

That's where exercise comes in.  Normally, I would lapse in my fitness routine in an effort to conserve energy.  Sacrifice the workouts so I could keep my energy for the training days. What I found was that I did not get more rest or sleep by not exercising - all I did was fill the hours I would normally be exercising with something else I had to do.  So I was stressed, tired and feeling decidedly unfit by the end.  On top of that, we sit around a lot during training weeks so my blood sugar tends to climb due to lack of activity.  Not good.

My fitness routine, which normally keeps my happy and healthy, will, for the next two weeks, help keep me sane and grounded.

Monday morning, I was at the pool at 6am.  I still had a lot to do before 9am and I was facing a long day of training.  It was tempting to get an extra hour of sleep.  Instead I chose to swim 80 lengths and am very glad I did.  I felt energized all day - there was no mid-afternoon slump - and my blood sugar ran a little higher than normal but not the usual craziness that comes from sitting all day.

So Monday, Wednesday and Friday - I'll be at the pool the moment it opens.  Tuesday and Thursday - I'll look forward to a run right after work.  Repeat again next week and I will have survived my third annual staff training weeks.

Bring it on!

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