Aug 24, 2007

the beauty of a day off

i never really knew how much i needed a day off from training until one was put on my schedule.

i’ve always had one easy day a week … a 3 mile run, yoga or laps. but every day has been filled with a workout – the words REST or OFF have never been part of the workout vocabulary on the schedule.

i liked it this way.
days off made me a little wiggy.
like my muscles would atrophy or something.

but i had been feeling sluggish on my runs … and i worried that i should be faster. and my two cross training bike days just felt like a total wash … i dreaded getting on the bike. i was exhausted the minute i did & just felt like i didn’t have anything to give – which frustrated me further. i was perfectly content with being slow as hell & struggling on the hills. ok – i was not at all content with struggling on the hills, but i think i’ve painted a picture of the laziness i was feeling on the bike – i didn’t even want to eat hills for breakfast. and that made me sad.

and so, in my panic of i'm-tired-on-the-bike-and-i-am-not-running-fast-enough-shouldn’t-i-be-faster-do-i-need-to-be-doing-speedwork? i sent an email to coach – asking, essentially, just that. and in a be careful what you wish for sort of way – i did indeed get speedwork added to schedule in the form of 3 x 1 mile repeats – at a target pace that had me in a panic.

i got a bike day subtracted, for which i was overjoyed, because as far as i was concerned i had lost all the mojo i had worked so hard getting for 4 months & i was pissed. saying goodbye to a bike day was easy.

and so, because of the speed workout that replaced the ride, and my thursday mornings at the races, (a.k.a. big dog run) -- i got the addition of a day off. a real, honest to goodness day where it says OFF on my schedule. and while i was excited about this i secretly worried that it would make me wiggy. i wondered what i would do if i didn’t have to get up at 4:30, and i didn’t have to spend any time after my run stretching, rolling, showering. my god – if i wasn’t pulling on running shorts & a top, what would i wear?

so last friday, my husband let me sleep in … he did the 2 hour, get three kids out the door & onto two different buses routine. i got up & put on real clothes, and i went about my day. i didn’t even think about running, or not running.

and the next day – i woke up bright & early and got on the bike for a ride with my husband – and my mojo was back. i felt great … not even the slightest bit tired. and i wanted to eat the hills for breakfast again & i was happy. i could still do it. and when tuesdays’ mile repeats came around, i blew the target paces right out of the water – the same ones i thought there was no way i’d hit. they’ve now been lowered, and while i worry (a little bit) all over again that i won’t hit them – this rest day thing is magic mojo; because when i ran with the big dogs yesterday, i not only started the run with them, but i finished the run with them. no bringing up the rear. i mean sure, my heartrate was sky high & i think i was 5% away from collapsing (post on snazzy new watch and that's how i know about that 5% thing coming soon) ... but i didn't. i think it was the day off.

so it was a good week. the week before? not so much … so whether it was the day off that made last week so good, i don’t really know … but i’m gonna go with it. i get too intense over the quality of my workouts, the speeds, etc … i think my brain thanked me for the rest & then rewarded me. i’m sure the next 57 days has a lot in store for me in terms of good workouts, bad workouts … but hopefully fridays off will serve its purpose in keeping me from getting too nutty about it all.


Gotta Run..... said...

Every great plan has one true rest day. Normally mine is on friday but not this week. I plan on being super lazy on Sunday. Your mind, body and spirit needs it.

My BIG event is the 54 mile Ultra on Nov.3rd. Just to change things up I signed up for a 50k and a marathon both in October and both trail events. I pretty much have left the road racing behind. To hard on the body for me. Recovery is SUPER fast following trail races. It is amazing.

How knows day we may be at the same Ultra Event. How cool would that be.

I have NO DOUBT that you will totally qualify for Boston.

My goal on the two October events is to treat them as training runs. November is all about making the cut off. This course is nasty so survival is key.

Bob - said...

Hey Wiggy--lol I am wiggy in my taper state of mind... but it is good to take a day off (kinda like one step back to go to steps forward)

Enjoy ur days off and keep taking at least one per week.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog and just read your entry.
Heck I take off 4 days a week with maybe making one of those days a weight day. My body cannot take that much training, that might be since I am pushing 225 lbs. Keep up the good work.

I am searching for more motivation. I am losing some during the week.

This is a rest week so I am going to enjoy a shorter run this week end.

I shall also be at the columbus marathon so good luck.

Anonymous said...

and lucky for me you are free for coffee on those off days!

Unknown said...

I say mark it up to a day off (at least that's what I keep telling myself!)

I've been totally slacking lately; my longest run since the full marathon training run was 9.75 miles, and I've taken the past three days completely off. But I'm hoping that just means my body will be raring to go 26.2 miles in 2 weeks!