As much as I want to advocate and encourage people to workout and exercise, that comes in moderation, because too much of even exercising can be harmful.
I describe myself as a Type-A, workaholic, and driven person. Now, while these characteristics may seem positive (that it may seem like I’m bragging), they can really hurt you when you take it too far and sometimes, I wish I was a bit more relaxed.
With cross country preseason coming up in a bit over a week, I’m nervous – as any runner is – for the gruesome workouts, race, and extreme heat, but at the same time, I can’t wait to get back on runners high.
This summer, I’ve been training for cross country (following a plan I’ve shared on the blog before). While this plan looks really regimented and extreme, our cross country coach did tell our team that the most important thing is to just run four to five times a week.
Nevertheless, I was not one to fall short of “expectations” and followed the cross country plan religiously. While June and July recommended for us to run 5 days a week and only until August should we run 6 days a week, I still ran 6 days since June. Why you may ask?
I’m not a fast runner. Even in winter track, while I improved personally, I was always the slowest of the group. This is why I used HATE running when I was on the track team in middle school. As the Type A and perfectionist I am, being last was a disgrace for me. So I loathed track, but I continued to do it because that was the only sport I could do somewhat well – give me any contact sport and I’ll fail.
However, I realized throughout my winter season that running is about PERSONAL improvement and if I improve my times – no matter how slow they are compared to someone else – then I win. Nevertheless, I lost this mindset and started to train with an unhealthy mindset this summer.
It came to be that this past Wednesday (so yesterday), my schedule was PACKED that I didn’t have time to fit in my run. Instead of brushing it off and accepting that I would only be running 5 times that week (which is perfectly normal and probably more than my other teammates are running), I took my rest day on Sunday and used it to workout. So I was running from Monday, August 8th all the way into Tuesday, August 16th.
The worst thing was I was doing this just to log more miles. Our cross country shares a spreadsheet of all the mileage we run – and I wanted to run the most. Silly right?
So since Monday, August 15th, my legs were feelings VERY VERY VERY sore. Almost to the point that it was hard to walk and when I started to run I was doing a combination of galloping and shuffling. Still, I pushed myself to run 4.2 miles that day and the next day I even did a hill workout. I know, I was crazy, but at that moment, I felt like I was reasonable.
So Wednesday was my “off” day after 10 days of running and I stretched a lot but walking was still hard so when I woke this morning, instead of doing my planned tempo run, I went for an EASY run.
Now while this may seem trivial, making myself NOT to the planned tempo run and instead go on an easy run was a HUGE leap of faith for me. I had to trust my body and what my legs were feeling instead of my Type A mind.
So I want to remind y’all that while working out and being active is super important, it’s equally or even more important to take rest when you’re BODY tells you to, not when your workout schedule tells you to. After going on that EASY run, my legs were feeling a lot loose but we’ll see how they’ll react tomorrow (maybe I was supposed to take a complete rest day…).
So remember, “Muscles are torn in the gym, fed in the kitchen, and BUILT IN BED.”
How do you dictate your rest days?