Today was such a gorgeous day….almost 60 degrees in mid-November in Boston. And it made me want to run again – outside. It’s been so long since I’ve run, (due to various injuries), that lately I haven’t even missed it. I’ve been doing other things like Spinning, swimming, using the elliptical machine and a group fitness class called Group Power at my gym. I hurt my hip about a year ago, and the doctors thought it might be a cartilage tear back then so I stopped running for a few months. And then when I started again, (after months of physical therapy), I developed plantar fasciitis and a stress reaction in my right foot. The stress reaction, which is a precursor to a stress fracture, has healed but the plantar fasciitis still plays up from time to time (and it takes a while to heal completely). So I’ve been doing other things for exercise….and not missing running as much as I thought I would.
It’s funny that I say that now because a few years ago, the idea of not running was devastating to me. I used to run all the time. Seven days a week (no wonder I was so prone to injuries). I actually remember the time when I was in Art School and developed tendonitis in my foot and had to take a month off of running. I cried. Because I couldn’t run.
Looking back, I realize that I probably had an unhealthy obsession with running. I think of it as unhealthy because it was not something I simply enjoyed – but something I felt compelled to do everyday. It was such a large part of me – of what I used to define myself. As I’ve gotten older, my priorities have changed, and my life has changed for the better. I no longer need to run to define myself – and I no longer need to exercise every single day to be healthy. For years I’ve known that taking a day of rest from exercise is important to the body’s own recovery process, and yet I’ve never heeded this advice; I’ve always felt that I have to to do something active everyday. True – I still like to be active every day – but I no longer feel compelled to do so. Add there’s a big difference in that. Now, if I’m tired, travelling or enjoying some R & R time with my husband and his kids, family, friends etc,…taking a day off exercise isn’t a big deal.
Exercise is certainly an important component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle – but exercise in moderation is the key to a healthy balance. True – many people don’t exercise at all, but I’m sure there are many others who take it to the extreme and do too much. As someone who has been through periods of over-exercising, I understand how difficult it is to let go of an activity you love, and to even recognize that you’re doing too much….till you get injured. But a key factor is to take a step back and just listen to your body- and to respect what it is telling you. If it’s run down and dragging,…it’s fine to take a day or two off…your body will thank you for it 🙂
I still exercise almost every day…but I enjoy days off here and there, and have a couple of “lighter” days in my weekly routine. And of course, I WILL run again….just waiting for the d**n plantar fasciitis to work itself out…and then I’ll be lacing up my running buddies again 🙂