The Weatherman has been back shearing after 6 years of not doing more than one 8 hour day with no pressure. He's now a helicopter pilot, and it's a lot less strenuous. Nonetheless, he's taken some "holidays" and has gone to play with our friends Grinder and Dances with Broom. He's got 5 days on prelamb ewes which he is describing as "big", "slabby" and "doughy". He had a warm up day three days before, and they did three runs. He was sore, but could function the next day.
The first day back he was sore, and it was hard, but he managed, and used the Shear Pace app to keep him on track, as well as all the normal stuff, like eating well, resting at smoko breaks and drinking lots of water.
The second day was much the same and he kept on track.
The third day (today) - he hit the wall. The kids thought this was hilarious and wondered why on earth he would hit a wall, because it would hurt! Stupid thing to do really! He explained it as a feeling like you can't keep going. He's tired, but should only have two more days and then be back to his leisurely job - even though the hours are very long!
I thought I'd look in to Hitting the Wall a bit further - and there is this marvellous article on hitting the wall - it talks about it being a combination of lack of fuel for the muscles, neural fatigue (the muscles can't do it because the nerves aren't telling them to do the right thing) and mental fatigue from a non accessible part of the brain.
So when The Weatherman told me that how he got through was by keeping on going, I see that he's on the right track scientifically, even though he didn't know why he was doing what he was doing.
So, here are some ideas on keeping going when you hit the wall - but I would love to hear your tried and true tricks.
1. make sure you eat properly throughout the day - I'm going to say it again (and again and again!), a whole food, low sugar diet is the way to go - I like to get information from "The fat professor" who also works with Caryn Zinn. They have written a great book "What the Fat" and one specifically for athletes which I haven't read yet - What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat. For a paper version, try here.
2. Keep hydrated - I have written about this here.
3. Be mindful - focus on just how your body feels - revel in it, enjoy the pain, and then let yourself move on.
4. Keep yourself motivated with small achievable goals - "I'll just do one more". This can help your brain (the bit that you have no control over) to feel that there is less of a threat to your body from this almighty effort you are putting in.
5. Make it fun, start playing with other shearers - try and keep up with them, beat them for a quarter, beat them for a half, just bang your door when you are going down the long blow and see if they jump. Again, this takes away some of the threat to your brain, and takes away your thoughts from your bodily sensations.
6. Use the Shear Pace app - it's a great way to keep you focussed on something that isn't your body - set a realistic goal - this may be below your actual goal, and shear away, knowing that you are acheiving something, and seeing those green numbers can be very uplifting for a tired body!
7. Use your smoko breaks for recovery. I have written about this here, here and here.
I know that The Weatherman is doing this, and has some other ideas as well which I'll share with you another time. Shh. No! Not THAT!
I'm sure you have some wonderful tricks up your sleeves - are you able to share them here or on our Facebook page? The folk at Shear Pace - Sheds and Shows would love to hear what you have to say - please join us and come over and comment.