I have noticed that rest days are always the days I feel like I need my #brightorangeshoes the most? On Friday, I am so excited that it is the end of the week and I can’t wait to get home and hit the pavement, but after trial and error I know it is important to take at least one meaningful day of recovery. I also decided that recovery days are good for 2 things; recovery for my body & recovery for my social life.
After a week of cross training and killing it on those Seattle hills, my hamstrings are begging for a day off. I usually notice this at the end of the week as I am walking up the stairs to my office in the morning and, after the first two flights, by that last one I am dragging myself up with the handrail, no joke. By the time I get to my desk and sit down, you would think is the biggest relief; I can’t sit still. For more than an hour, all I can think about is my hamstrings and gluts yelling “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Move already!” On a Friday this is a huge distraction. But it is also a reminder to allow my body the rest it deserves and mindfully reward myself for the hard work my #brightorangeshoes and I surpassed on the days prior.
To note; my recovery time after long runs can vary depending on the workout and how far into training I am. I try to avoid taking things like pain killers (Tylenol or Advil) to mask aches and pains because they may be signals from my body that something isn’t right. For instance, when my knees ache that could mean I am putting too much of weight directly on them and should focus on adjusting my strides, or if I feel lethargic and sluggish the day after a long run I may need to drink more water before-during-and-after my run. Also, increasing protein consumption usually speeds up my recovery time of aching muscles.
In addition to the physical challenges I find myself facing while running, after training for
my first marathon, I noticed that a lot of the time I had for social activities was cut short or got eliminated so I could get my runs in. I found it is important to keep your support group involved on your days off, especially if they don’t run with you. My Friday nights may not be as crazy as they were when I was in college but the fact that I could race home at my normal time and meet friends at happy hour before the sun sets instead of focus on getting in my #brightorangeshoes is a small weight off my shoulders.
Huge take away, my Friday-Rest-Day is meant to reward my body for all the hard work that I put it through and reward my mind with a “happy hour” surrounded by friends or family. I use this time to reflect on the hard work put into my training, share my experience with those that I love, and prepare my attack plan for the upcoming Sunday long run. And always remember the #brightorangeshoes may need a break every once in a while too.