To prepare for my upcoming half-marathon I’m following a training program from mapmyrun.com (my favorite app/site for running). It tells me how far to run, which days to take an easy run, which days to work on pace, etc. It also tells me which days are “rest days.” Oddly enough, when the program tells me to run 6, 7, or 8 miles I’m fine. It’s the “rest” I’m having trouble with.
It’s not that I run every day. On a good week I get in 5 runs, but most weeks I average 4. Generally speaking, though, my reasons for not running have to do with living an actual life: Work obligations, family responsibility, social engagements, etc. The app is somewhat flexible in that it lets me re-organize my week so that I can coordinate rest days with life events and everything is fine. But what happens when I have a rest day on a day when I have nothing better to do?
I’m really not good at resting, even when it is for my own good. Rest days are important because they prevent injury and enables your immune system to repair muscles and joints. I know I can do other things: walk, yoga, swim… but all I keep thinking is, “I should be running.” And sometimes I do run on my rest days – even though I know better.
I’m smart enough to recognize that my body wants to rest. Too many days of running with no breaks makes my muscles tighter and I actually run slower. But inside I feel badly about not running: Like I’m lazy. Like I’m goofing off. Like I’m back-sliding. As if one day of rest is going to undo my months of training. (Actually research shows that it takes about two-weeks of not training to impact fitness and performance)
I know this is ridiculous. Even as I type the words I’m thinking, you are being ridiculous. But there you have it. It is just one more way I sabotage myself. So here I am really, definitely, positively not running today. Probably.