And Now for Something Completely Different…something I know absolutely nothing about as a run-streaker: The POWER OF REST! R-E-S-T, you know that four-letter word that runners love to hate? That word is critical to runners’ growth, development, and recovery. I used to think rest only meant “running days off”. But I’ve learned that the run-streakers version of rest is weekly (or more often) 1 mile runs at a slow meandering pace with no “pushing” the pace or speed bursts. So that’s what I did today. Before I began this streak, my tendency was to rest on Mondays (every Monday) or cross-train at the most. Every Monday, the temptation to rest is very strong since that “Monday rest” habit was deeply ingrained by more than a year of repeated reinforcement.
Today I was reminded twice by strange deviations in running-related habits that I am sleep-deprived or need more rest. First, after beginning my run, realized that I forgot to start the Garmin (started Runkeeper though so half my brain was working, just not the more important half). Strike one. Secondly, after my “recovery run”, I left my house & car keys in the keyhole outside the house for anyone to see, take, or laugh at-so at least my daughter laughed at it and thought it was funny. Oops! Strike two. (Okay, there goes the other half of my brain, too.) Uh oh, need to prevent strike three here. COFFEE!!!
Seriously, rest and recovery is needed for our muscles to heal, for our brains to reset, for our bodies to relax and bounce back with resiliency and strength. That’s why our Garmins tell us rest/recovery time after our runs (today: only 8 hours needed to recover! I could run again but…it’s a recovery day so no) and measure our degree of recovery in the first mile of our runs (today: GOOD). Follow along with me…run less and get stronger. It seems counterintuitive. However, consider: rest/recovery days work! Your body will thank you during your next hard workout. Also, you can rest like this: alternating hard:easy workouts (easy is “rest” in a sense). Chris Russell of the Run Run Live blog and podcast speaks of “rest weeks”. http://runrunlive.com/rest-your-weary-soul I haven’t quite mastered rest weeks but I do something more like “easy weeks” (low mileage & intensity all week) after tough weeks.
Even through it’s a recovery day, I’m sneaking in a 7-minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout tonight by Lolo. It’s an app that I bought on my phone. Then I’ll plank out the day with my OurFit treadmill community (treadmill community for iFit treadmill users on Google+).
When was your last rest day? Recovery day? Cross-training day? When are your next rest days, recovery days, and/or cross-training days? Calculate them now, put them in your calendar, and treat them as seriously as your workouts. Your body will thank you. RUN AWAY with me and realize… that’s the POWER of REST!