(Per la versione in italiano, clicca qui).
If you are friends on Facebook, Instagram or you’re part of the few elected people I use whatsapp to communicate with, you (might) have noticed that last week my social networks (and every conversation we might have had) were full of this two words: Hell Week.
I had bought Erik Bertrand Larssen’s book last summer, but for some reasons I never really tried to do what he said. Maybe it was a lack in inspiration, or maybe in motivation. Anyway, as I’ve already said, about 3 weeks ago, I signed up in the local gym and *drum roll* it seems I’ve a goal that prevent me from staying in bed all day with Netflix.
So, just the time to understand I wasn’t that out of shape (how amazing is to live by illusions to run as fast as the golden ages) and that idea of doing a hell week returned to my mind, just before preparing fully the law exam. In the first two week, I got some feedback about myself (Bea, when will I get your answer? LOL) and I established a few goals. I restarted writing on paper, something I didn’t expect I would miss, and then I planned the hell week.
Actually, it’s pretty tough to describe a hell week with just a few words. Every day has a theme and from 5am Monday morning till 10pm Sunday evening, you have to be productive, 100% committed. Every day there are some new challenges and some new aspects of your life you need to focus on, for instance doing an analysis of your habits, then your modes, learning how to plan the day, but also mad things like going 41 hours without sleep, because you have to be productive (I know, it still fears me, but I will tell you later on about it), meditation. It’s a week full of changes and, to fully understand the psychological and physical impact it has on you, you have to read the book.
Following, you’ll find my hell week (*Disclaimer: this is MY hell week, it doesn’t mean it has to be done like this, it’s my attempt. There is no right way to do it, it’s up to you. I have gone to the extreme this week about exercising, but a brisk walk could do the task as well if you prefer, and I have been a little extreme about healthy eating as well, but still, that’s up to you to decided which boundaries to establish).
MONDAY: Harnessing the force of habit
When my alarm clock, at 5 am, I just wanted to sleep. My nightmarish week had already began since I couldn’t sleep the night before. Larssen said it’s really importato to ask yourself this question to get out of bed: What am I mostly looking forward to today? My answer? Sleeping. However, what has to be done, has to be done.
Normally, people do a 5am workout during hell week, but since it’s the end of November, it was dark and I don’t live in the nicest district of Trento, my morning started with coffee and law.
On Monday, I really regretted the decision to try, even to think about doing this hell week. It seemed impossible to be concluded. As if time never passed, at 4pm it seemed ages I had been awake. I was hungry and tired. My habits seemed bad, everyone, and my life-rhythm didn’t fit into EBL’s.
Training: Power Tone (45’) and 20’ cyclette.
TUESDAY: Getting into the mode
New day and new tasks: you really start to get into the hell week momentum. Today’s theme was to list every mode during the day, which ones where my best performances, which objects I had with me in those occasions.
What to say about Tuesday? I was really tired, I had had 6 hours of lessons and I couldn’t finish every task in time (I had to be in bed at 10pm, damn!) but it was okay. Dad, if you are reading with post, I know you have been telling me I need to exercise at least one hour per day for about 8 year or more now, and YES, you were right (sometimes you have to pay even just the price of a book, to understand dad’s free advice was really good – he said).
Training: Tone up (never again).
WEDNESDAY: Managing your time
You need to do at least two particularly vigorous trainings during hell week, one of them was planned for Wednesday morning at 10 pm with Chris, who really took EBL by word, and for the third time this week I regretted having got up (how did I let myself do something like this?). But, the fact that he said to jump on the scale, cause according to him I had leaned up a little, gave a reason to my day. However, the tag #guesswhosnotwalkingtomorrow survived.
The topic of the day was to learn to plan my days, weeks, months and years, set short and log terms goal. My agenda now looks like this now.
Training: 1 hour PT
THURSDAY: Getting out of your comfort zone
This was really brutal. Usual alarm clock at 5am, but knowing I couldn’t sleep for 41 hours. It’s easy to remember it now, but at the beginning it was really a tragedy. 6 hours lesson, forcing myself to bike to uni (10K) on Thursday when there’s the market and I don’t know where to leave my bike damn) and not going back after lesson but go straight to the gym. All my nightmares in a day.
And honestly, on Thursday I was really tired. It was the worst day and I counted the hours left. My quads hurt, during training in the evening I was exhausted, as if I couldn’t find nor even a little bit of strength. My flatmates lost every hope to dissuade me and I believed I would quit. I would fall asleep during the night, alone in our apartment.
Training: Primitive Functional Movement.
FRIDAY: Rest and restitution
Before you think you, all of a sudden, enter an holistic part of hell week, I remember you I had been awake for 19 hours and I had 22 ahead of me. By the time the sun rose, after having spent the night doing 56 statistics exercises, writing down 2 erasmus letter and reading half of the sociology book, I was fully exhausted. Even my father (who normally supports the weeks I train really hard) called me at 6:50 am to check I was okay (and again at 2pm, as he believed I would fall asleep at uni or something), my flatmates kept me awake on the bus because I really couldn’t have done it all by myself. Everyone seemed against me, with something like Camilla, you are training too hard, get a life or Camilla, 30g of spelt wheat is not a lunch (Special mention to Dani with her: Eat, girl!).
I arrived in uni at 8 sharp, just to find out the lesson had been cancelled, so bloody angry I walked my way back and, knowing I would have fallen asleep, if I had gone back home, I went straight to the gym at 9:30am (Now that we are here: I am so sorry to the people who were there that morning, but I was so tired and everything that required more coordination than running was out of reach).
I took some time to reflect about what happened by that moment. And then, as if the thought of having 7 hours left before going to sleep wasn’t bad enough, you feel a sharp, awful backpain (YES, you all said I trained too much, but I still had 2 days to go).
At 10pm sharp I’ve fallen asleep. No one heard anything about BlackFriday.
SATURDAY: Controlling your inner dialogue
In theory, the last really but really challenging training has to be done on Sunday. When the gym would have been closed, but since the topic of the day was to control my inner dialogue, I thought I might run 10K. The 29th March 2015, when I ran for the first time with JJ, we had run 10K. It was a starting point, and I wanted this one to be as well.
It’s not my comfort distance (about 5-6km) and it rained, and I went against the wind the entire time. My flatmate, Angela, suggested that I stayed around, but in the end I new I would have quit easier, if I had ran around the blocks. So I went out and ran till the Albere District (South of Trento, and I started from home, so the north of Trento).
The first 5k where the hardest. The more the road passed by and the more I realized I would have had to do it on the way back. But I silenced my inner voice and I kept going. When finally the AppleWatch (YES, I know, professional as a swatch for running, but I forgot the Garmin at my other home) said I ran 5k, I guess it was the worst moment. It took me 20 seconds less that planned, but I wanted a faster time. And I was cold. Bloody freezing.
I summoned all my strength and will and told myself that back home I would have needed to go anyway. And that I didn’t have a bus ticked with me (I had). When I ran my street with Eye of the Tiger, happy and cheerful I was done with about 3 minutes less than planned, the touch of the watch doesn’t work cause it’s soaked and I restarted running cause otherwise my pace would have gone up (Camilla, you finally reached your lowest moment).
To honor the ones who believe I live by coffee, hard boiled eggs and cynicism, lunch was hard boiled eggs.
SUNDAY: Putting life into perspective
I wasn’t sure about the kind of training I wanted to do on Sunday. I thought about something soft and relaxing, after Saturday’s 10K, but EBL wanted a vigorous training. Since the gym was closed and not being sure about what was best to do, I decided to call that and ask him some advice. Why don’t you run 15K, darling he said at first (YES, Dad, and then my unicorn and I go to Vancouver for lunch). Then do interval training. Yes, I can do that. Simple scheme:
1.6km marathon pace.
800m half marathon pace.
400m 10K pace.
200m 5K pace.
100m 1mile pace.
200m 5K pace.
400m 10K pace.
800m half marathon pace.
1.6km marathon pace.
1km cool down.
(rest 0”/1’ between each).
Huge effort but huge satisfaction, cause the Hell Week was almost over (and on Thursday my flatmates and I could all go to America Graffiti and eat like there’s no tomorrow, right? LOL). It’s time to take our time and analyze everything that happened, see the positive and the negative aspects, choose which habits I need to keep and which I will let go (5am alarm clock, in which pile do you think I’m gonna put you?), to put into practice what I learned this week, short but intense.
A LITTLE MORE INFO…
If you have had the patience to read till this point, thank you. And secondly, here’s what I wish someone had told me before I started:
- Your laundry will look like this.
- Your coffee jar is gonna get empty so quickly, particularly during the night.
- Hell week has an end. Remember this.
- After the 41 hours, week and life will seem a joke.
And now? What happens next? LIFE AFTER HELL WEEK.
To be continued…
Have A Safe Journey!