Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Am I resting easy? Not exactly.

I took a day off from work today. I also took a day off from working out. No running. No biking. No swimming. No core exercises. (OK, I mowed the lawn late this afternoon, but I don't think that qualifies as cross-training in most fitness freaks' books.)

Funny thing is, I didn't plan it this way.

I woke up a little after 6 dying to go for a run, but my wife had already left the house and I decided to spend some time with our 8-year-old instead of leaving her staring like a zombie at Nickelodeon for 45 minutes to an hour.

Anyway, I thought maybe I'd squeeze in some core work after I dropped her off at summer camp and before a 10 o'clock tour of Levine Children's Hospital (led by the good folks behind the Hopebuilders 5K). But I opted to vacuum the house -- since it needed to be done at some point before I had to go to the airport to grab my mother-in-law, who's in town till Sunday.

So next I set my sights on trying to do an hourlong ride/run combo after the tour and before the airport pickup.

Well, that didn't happen because 1) the conversation with the Levine people was interesting enough that I wound up staying half an hour longer than I'd planned, and 2) I remembered I needed to swing over and buy some swim shorts at REI for a pool workout Thursday morning.

I could go on, but basically, once I picked up my wife's mom at 1:30 ... any practical opportunity to get in a workout of any kind went out the window.

So this turned out to be an involuntary day of rest, a day on which I was held from running against my will.

Like so many other athletes I've met since I started running last September, I've become incredibly driven to push myself, to go faster, to be stronger, to run further. And like so many other athletes I know, I find it difficult to take a day off -- to take a true day of rest.

I've read all the books. I know that recovery is an important part of training plans. I know that muscle needs to rebuild itself to become stronger. I know, I know, I know. But that doesn't mean it's not killing me to be sitting here and blogging right now instead of pounding the asphalt on an after-dark run.

What's your philosophy on rest days? A crucial and welcome part of your regimen? An agonizing formality? Or do you sometimes/usually skip them -- because, well, you just not very good at sitting still -- ?


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of running moms! Your activities today is a sort of cross-training. Ok, so you weren't running, but you were still moving. I trained for last years NYCM while in the midst of renovating a house (by ourselves). The marathon was a breeze compared to my 'off days' during the training!

Anonymous said...

I take the day off (even if it is mowing the lawn or 'running' errands). On my off days - I focus on nutrition and hydrating for my next run, so I can push harder or run longer. Side note: Is there a particular program you will be following for the NYCM?

amlinz said...

I typically only run 5 days a week and am able to compete at a pretty good level (sub 17 5k, sub 3 marathon). When I get into good shape, I am literally forcing myself to take the 2 days off because I REALLY want to run but as you get older, your body needs that rest and it helps with recovery. I swim or bike on one of those days and usually take the other one off completely. Occassionally I do 6 days. Runners have a bad tendency to think more and more is better and start feeling guilty when they miss a day. A day, a couple of days won't hurt your overall training goals as long as you have been consistent for weeks. Days off not only recharges your body, mentally, it gets you itching to get back out there. If you want to do more, go for a hike, bike a couple hours, do yardwork, swim, play tennis...basically anything but run.