When I first started running… and had no idea what I was doing… I, surprisingly did a lot right. I ran a set number of DAYS instead of chasing a certain number of miles. If I started running and wasn’t entirely feeling it then I would simply run less that day. I also took a solid two days a week of rest. For the most part, I kept this up for a year without injury.
Then everything fell apart…
Over the past year, I have evaluated what worked for me and what didn’t. I also took a look back at all my running logs. I know what works for me now and as the saying goes… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So, towards the end of November, I returned to what worked for me. Except, I really missed strength training. I also know that strength training is GOOD for runners. I took my running mileage down… like way down… to somewhere between 1 and 2 miles a day…. With a handful of runs over two miles… but every few.
At least 5 days a week, I was running. I was also strength training at least 3 to 4 times a week. I was going strong for about two months and overall I was feeling good.
Then… around the middle of January, I started to noticed that I was tired. Not just, I didn’t sleep well tired… but really just exhausted and fatigued. I started to tell myself it was a combination of my longer work hours while still maintaining the workout schedule. But about two weeks ago, I figured out that in all reality, my body needs a break.
See back in 2010 when I started my 5 days a week of running, I was NOT strength training. Sure, I might throw in some lunges or sit-ups every now and then but overall the only thing I was doing was running. So I wasn’t really comparing apples to apples when I set my goals for this year. I found the flaw in my plan…
I started toying with the idea of taking a scheduled break from working out about a month ago and then two weeks ago… the decision sort of made itself. I couldn’t deny that my body needs a break.
My diet has been a LOT better since the holidays ended and I have actually been sleeping really well… even if there is the occasional night when I don’t sleep as well… but for the most part, I am getting my 7 to 8 hours. So really, there wasn’t too much explanation for this constant feeling of fatigue. I also started to notice that my workouts were getting harder and harder to get through and in all reality, I felt like I was just going through the motions instead of working… if that makes any sense. The strength training wasn’t stellar and the running pace was getting slower and slower and I have found it really difficult to push myself harder. I would try and my body just wouldn’t let me.
So I took an extra rest day last week, I scaled back on the running miles a tad and I scaled back the strength training. This week – only two runs for me… and I can already tell that my extra rest day last week helped but wasn’t enough.
I feel confident in my decision to rest a lot this week while mom is in town. In the past, my periods of rest where usually the result of illness… or just plain being lazy (or condo buying….).
My hope is that taking a solid 5 days off will allow my body time to recharge so I can enter my next phase of training. It is time to start focusing on some of my longer distance races for the year and work on my time goal for the BAA race.
While taking the time off, I am also going to try to come up with a better schedule for the strength training and running. I have known for a while that once I start running longer that I would need to revamp the strength training plan so I will use this time off to do that. Not really sure what the end result will be yet but I have some ideas on how to make this work. I am willing to be flexible over the following weeks until I find the secret recipe for myself.
I went into this year determined to get my running base back and focus on being a stronger running… and the reality is that sometimes you need the rest. Sometimes you need to listen to your body.
Has anyone else ever taken an extended period of rest while training?