Tag Archives: resting

Take Care of Myself? Good Idea, Wimp

Would someone please slap me upside my neofrontal cortex and tell me that resting and eating ice cream while I’m sick does not make me a lazy glutton.

I’ll go for a run right after this. I promise.

Because any time I skip some training, part of my brain is nags me about it, good reason or not.

I came down with a cold or something over the weekend. It’s not the worst I’ve ever had, but I’m tired and achy enough that I decided to forego my Monday session at Body Specs and my regular Wednesday 6 a.m. club run. Last thing I want to do is turn it into pneumonia.

So I’m taking naps, drinking plenty of fluids, eating chicken soup (and ice cream) and giving my longsuffering cats some extra attention. And while part of me appreciates the self-pampering, the other part will call me a wimp until I actually lace them on and head back out there.

Guilt over missing some training is common among runners. All someone in run club has to do is say, “Yeah, I had to skip long run due to [insert lame excuse like leg fell off]” to get sympathetic nods and confirmation. “You did the right thing, blah blah blah…” while they’re thinking, Thank God I don’t have to worry about him at next week’s 5K.

This thread on LetsRun.com has some pretty funny takes on runner’s guilt. But this excerpt is something I can actually take away from reading it.

My college coach used to tell us this: “Every night, ask yourself what you did that day to make yourself a better runner. Realize that sometimes the best answer to that question is, I rested.”

Amen, brother.

Advertisements

What’s Wrong With Me?

THE BEST I CAN SAY about the past few days is that my body has been efficient. If I had to get hurt and sick, at least they happened together. Dual-purpose recovery!

And yet there is something very odd going on during this recovery.

Last Thursday after working out my right knee was a bit tender, so I put off my scheduled five-mile run for a day. On Friday while warming up for the run, I found that a deep knee bend caused a sharp pain in that knee. It didn’t hurt otherwise so I (carefully) completed the run, but my knee did not loosen up.

I Iz No Run - Bing ImagesI emailed my coach and told her I was cancelling my Saturday long run. She agreed; it was time to start tapering anyway. No sense in risking an injury this close to my upcoming races. Just as well, since over the weekend, I came down with my first full-blown cold in years. So Monday’s strength workout and Tuesday’s run were out, too.

The good news is that I’m on the mend; the knee pain is gone, and I’m getting over the cold. So I’ll be back on the road soon, and should be good to go for the April races.

These things happen, and we exercise freaks get through them as best we can. Fellow blogger Sam writes here about a week with no exercise, and blogger eloisedu talks here about a nagging hip injury that is sidelining her for four weeks. They express their frustration but know they will be back. I was going to post on their blogs that I “felt their pain” so to speak, but then came to a stunning realization:

I haven’t missed training at all. In fact – umm – I’ve been enjoying the break.

NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

What’s wrong with me? I should be bouncing off the walls right now, frothing at the mouth, gazing longingly out my front window at the nice weather and the healthy, unhurt runners gliding by. Nope. I’m just resting and going through the other things I have to do each day.

Fortunately, I believe I know what’s going on. My training is not what you would call “elite level” but for the past few months it’s been at the highest intensity and volume in my life. It’s been tough, and despite signs that my body was finally adapting and getting stronger, I’ve had to put up with continual low-level soreness throughout my body and fatigue from all the activity.

So don’t get me wrong – being sick has really sucked, and comes with its own issues –  poor sleep, stuffy head, and achy feeling. But my muscles are feeling better than they have in quite a while, and my energy level is rising, too.

But what about my upcoming races? Is all this (relative) inactivity going to sabotage my goals of qualifying for Boston or finishing my upcoming ultras? I doubt it. I’ve trained year-round for a long time, and with the increased effort over this winter, I’ve got the base I need. I’m not going to forget how to run by easing off for a week or two.

This is the classic dilemma runners face when they taper. We’re so used to our training routine that when we cut it down before a race, we feel like we’re slacking off and hurting our chances. But to be in peak form on race day, letting the body heal and rebuild beforehand is the best thing we can do. Running, or any athletic endeavor for that matter, requires mental discipline as much as the physical!

And when April gets here, with three races in four weeks, I get the feeling I’ll be grateful for this enforced rest here in March. And yes, I am still looking forward to the races – very much so. That’s the best sign of all.

Won't be down for long - the trails beckon!

Won’t be down for long – the trails beckon!