Tag Archives: rest days

Gotta Run One: So Far, So Good!

Howdy, ya’ll!

I’ve been working on my “Gotta Run One” challenge for, as of today, nine days. How has it been going? Has it been increasing my motivation or detracting from it? How are my little victory sticks doing with no official extended downtime? (Disclaimer: Every knowledgable runner I know said that I would be OK running daily as long as my rest day runs were short, slow and gentle.) Read onward to find out those answers and more!

1. How’s it been going?

So far, so good! I’ve really been getting used to the process of getting out there every day, which surprises me. Why? Certainly not because I lack an interest. Moreso because some days I genuinely do only have time for a single mile — and before this challenge, having only 15 spare minutes or whatever would mean that I just didn’t get my run in for the day. With this challenge, though, I am forced to take those 15 minutes and make it happen every single day. No excuses. And, to my delight, what’s been happening on days other than those time-crunch days? I find that once I’m already out there pounding the pavement, I’m usually inspired to stay out for more than my owed mile. Often it’s 5K for a shorter run; one day, it was 5 miles. I’m trying not to overdo it and overtrain, considering that I am a relatively “new” runner and my long run mileage is really ramping up quickly — I want to avoid injury! So I’m trying to do, out of 7 days, 2 “one or two” mile runs, a medium-length 5 miles or 10K, two shorter 5Ks, a “whatever I feel that day” run, and of course one long run. So far this little challenge has provided great reason to get out and stay out.

 

2. Is it increasing my motivation or decreasing it?

Yanno, I was really interested to see how this would pan out. I figured one of two things would happen: either 1) the mandatory mile-a-day would lead to me resenting running or 2) it would become the type of habit that I loved even more than I had previously. Thankfully, at Day 9, so far the latter seems to be the case. Rather than it being optional, it’s mandatory — that’s the point — and so instead of waging war with myself about “Eh, but this HEAT/HUMIDITY” or “Eh, but I only have time for like two miles which is barely worth it,” I’ve been happily going out there and doing what I can do, knowing that at least one goal — the goal of running every day – is being met. I actually think that’s where a lot of the joy in this is coming from: I’m being freed from my self-hewn prison of thinking that I MUST log bigger miles or I MUST try to keep a good speed every time I run. Of course, I don’t run as fast as I can every day or always run 10K or more. I have speedwork days, short run days, hillwork days, etc. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been hard on myself — and, 30 lbs later, it seems that it’s been a good strategy — and that I’ve been disparaging of running very short distances. For example: the lone mile. This challenge is helping me reclaim that and is helping me find joy in the corners and hollows of the sport where previously I’d either not been looking or never noticed.

 

3. How do I feel?

This was the part I was concerned about before the challenge began. The good news is that so far, I am totally fine! Having rest days where I just jog a solitary mile has really been fine as a recovery method. Otherwise, because I’m tempering my speed and my courses, running hard(er) 5 days a week has been no problem. This week alone, on Monday I ran 5.2, on Tuesday 3.19, and Wednesday 8.18. No real soreness to speak of. Of course, today will be a 2 or 3 mile recovery run. The weekend will likely hold some shorter runs and maybe one longer one. Keeping it switched up. And on the shortest running days, I’m doing yoga as crosstraining. Gentler yoga one day, and more intense yoga (the P90X yoga actually) the other day.

4. So overall?

I’m happy, and not sore, and finding a lot of joy in the process. Stay tuned for more to follow! I’ve heard some people keep patterns like this up for a year or more… We’ll see where this journey leads!

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Rest Days: A Reckoning

I am both pleased and unsurprised to say I finally need rest days on occasion.

WHAT?

Hah, no, really.

This isn’t a “You told me so” moment — in fact, the opposite in some ways.  Plenty of negative Nancy’s were like OH MY GAWSSSHHH THREE MILES A DAYYYY YOU WILL NEED KNEE REPLACEMENTS YOU WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE PLEASE RESTTTTTTT AND BY THE WAY DEFINITELY EAT TWICE YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN PROTEIN IN CASE YOU NEED IT CAUSE YOU WORKED OUT A LITTLE.

Can you tell by my tone how very much I disagree with those offers of advice?

I’ve always maintained I would eat what I felt I “needed” to eat, and would take a rest day if/when one was needed.

When I was averaging 3 miles a day on the treadmill, I never needed a rest day. I was never sore. I just kept on with my life. Same went for my eating habits; I ate bananas and extra protein near running time, but never felt the need to eat more. In fact, for the purposes of weight loss (and within reason/proportion) it makes no sense to eat back all the calories you just burned. That only really works as a strategy if you’re seeking to maintain.

Now, that being said, things are changing. I run about 4 or 5 days a week now instead of 7. I also tend to run 4-5 miles (usually 5.2) instead of 3. I find myself much more full-body-tired after I run (not immediately after, but in the evening and next day). I am still never sore (no achey legs!) except for in my shoulders and upper back — largely because I have shoulder problems.

FINALLY, the day I knew would come, has come: I can tell when I “need” a rest day or two. Logging 20 miles in four days usually requires a full weekend of rest, depending. I can also tell when I need a little more food. Yesterday evening, I had two “peanut butter spoons” (slightly heaped tablespoons) of Better ‘n Peanutbutter that ate up 2 of my activity points. I felt like I needed it.

It’s not that I didn’t think I’d need rest days. It’s that I got frustrated that everyone else thought they knew what was best for my body. Anyone who knows me should know that I am smart; I research EVERYTHING; I do nothing without thinking it through over and over and over. And so constant reprimands to rest more when I am trying to explain that my body doesn’t need it (or didn’t, at the level I was at, then) and demanding I eat more/suggesting I’m eating too little when I’m trying to explain that I had been feeling GOOD eating the way I was eating — well, those things were pushy, rude, and unhelpful. I know there’s plenty of people who want to support me on this journey, but I’ve done my research and if I’m not soliciting advice, perhaps I don’t want it.

In the end, yes, I now take rest days. But that’s because I’m running 5+ miles, not 2 or 3. And I eat a couple activity points (though never ALL of them — what fool would!?) when I feel it’s needed. And I can tell when it’s needed, because I’ve learned to listen to my body.

That, I think, is something I’m more proud of than anything else specific about my journey: I’m doing what I do without fat-burning pills, without supplements, without fad diets or bad habits. As a result, I’m really learning to listen when my body speaks. Knowing its ebbs and flows, the things it needs, the things it doesn’t. Knowing the ways and limits to which I can push it, and the ways to back away or be gentle. A huge part of Weight Watchers (and wellness) is coming to learn yourself — if you’re doing WW right, you too will be becoming friends with your body, and understanding its intricacies.

My advice to you, dear readers, is to work hard on doing the same. Know when others are being helpful, too, and when (conversely) they might just be contradicting your vote of confidence in your body. THIS IS NOT ME SAYING TO DEVELOP BAD HABITS OR UNSAFE HABITS OR TO STARVE OR TO OVER-EXERT YOURSELF. Moreso, this is me saying: “If I wouldn’t accept someone’s unsolicited advice about my very personal, intimate and private emotional relationship with Chelsea because, well, ‘how would anybody else know better than Chelsea or me?’ then why would I accept what someone else tells me about the relationship I have with my body?”

My body and I.

My body and me.

Me and mah bod.

Awhile ago, we didn’t need rest days or peanut butter spoons.

Now, we do.

I know it, because she told me.

And I listened.