Taking days off are such a pivotal piece of the training puzzle. Our bodies need breaks to recharge in order to prevent burn out and injuries. No matter how many times I tell myself this, recovery days still give me anxiety. Negative thoughts enter my head, and after almost two years of consistently focusing on my fitness, I’m still afraid if I take one day off, I’ll never start up again. This, of course is completely irrational, but try telling that to my brain. The other, and much more understandable, explanation for my stress is that oh so good “Runners High” – this feeling gets me through life. I love sweating, and even though I look like I just dove in a pool, I feel cleansed, refreshed and at my strongest mentally and physically. It’s hard to give up that feeling, even for one day.
But alas, I know how important it
is to take a break. Many runners can function with one recovery day a week. My
body has informed me time and time again that one day is not enough. I’ve
tried, and every time I do 6 days on, 1 day off, my body shuts down. I’m sure
that fueling is more the issue than the actual running (I can’t stress how
important eating enough of the right foods is for maximizing your workouts),
but so far, 6 days on have not worked for me. Two rest days per week are what
I need to function best right now. My usual rest days
are Monday and Friday. My long runs occur on Saturday, so having
that break right before ensures I don’t try to conquer too many miles on tired
legs. Monday is a nice break after the weekend.
|I'm so hot (It was reaallly hot that day)|
How to get comfortable with recovery days (or how I talk myself off the ledge)...
Focus on upcoming workouts – For me, recovery Fridays are spent planning that long run on Saturday. And because I miss running (yes, after one day, I miss it), I’m excited to get out there again.
Remember the great feeling of running on rested legs. I love running, but there are few things I dislike more than running on tired, heavy legs. Each mile feels like an eternity. Running on fresh, rested legs makes me feel like a “real” runner. I fly through each mile and my times are always right where I want them to be.
Enjoy the break – you earned it! I’m getting much better at this. Just sit back, eat some carbs and enjoy the repairing of those muscle fibers.
Today's recovery workout plan (you didn't expect me to sit around all day, did you?): Walk in these stable shoes from my apartment in the background to the mailbox...