The 9 miler that became a 4 miler and a glass of wine
Yup. Just as the title says… Yesterday, I (foolishly) decided to try doing my long run of the week (in preparation for an upcoming half-marathon in February) the day after coming down with a bad cold and only getting 4.5 hours of sleep (Insomnia, how I love thee… not)
Needless to say, I started out feeling less than great…ran pitifully slowly for the first mile and a half, felt like my chest was exploding at mile 2 and stopped to take a walking break, then made the executive decision that the 9 miler was not happening and that I would be better off getting some rest and trying it later in the week. Note to self: NOT the next day. So that’s exactly what I did. Dragged myself back home, showered, ate, and then curled up on the couch that evening with a big glass (or two 🙂 ) of non-negotiable red wine. Just what I needed 🙂
Yesterday’s run was probably one of the worst I’ve had for a while and yet it was a good learning experience. I could’ve pushed myself to do more, missed reaching 9 miles and risked becoming even more ill and possibly injured, but I’m glad that I actually listened to my body this time and came home instead. I think that oftentimes athletes, and many individuals who enjoy training for endurance events, tend to get so wrapped up in attaining a certain mileage or time, or completing ‘x’ number of sessions a week, that they risk getting ill, injured and/or just burnt out from overtraining. I’m the worst at taking my own advice when it comes to ‘rest’ days and taking time off from training because I do like to exercise. I love the endorphins that it stimulates and how uplifting and energizing exercise can be. But I also know what it feels like to feel “burnt out” just mentally and physically. When the thought of doing another long run or going to the gym or pool seems like a punishment. And that’s when you KNOW you need some days off from that type of activity.
So I didn’t run today and I won’t run tomorrow, but maybe the day after that, when I feel mentally and physically refreshed and “ready to run” again. And I think that’s something I’ll try to remember going forward; to keep things balanced and do them in moderation. Even exercise. Overtraining can be physically and mentally exhausting, especially when we focus on one or two specific exercises alone (e.g. running, biking etc). It’s actually physically and mentally refreshing to mix things up a bit and substitute in a different activity at least a couple of times a week – perhaps a swim instead of a run, or a yoga or dance class. You could even try out a martial arts or kick-boxing class for a change. And sometimes, it’s just better to listen to your body and take a day or two off from formal exercise and go for a walk with a friend, your dog, or your ipod instead. Or my favorite, a quick 20 minute yoga session from yogadownload.com, and then a nice glass of wine while relaxing on the couch 🙂