It seems to me that when you’re deep in training for something big, rest almost becomes a four-letter word. Well it is a four letter word actually but I’m using that expression as in a bad, four-letter word.
I’ve always been okay with having rest days built into my training plans. In fact, I love my rest days. I feel like I’m being rewarded with that day off after sticking to my plan for the rest of the week. I like rest days and wholeheartedly believe they are just as important as the tough workout days when you’re training for months on end.
But for some reason, when your heart or body tells you that maybe some extra rest is a good idea, it can feel like you’re doing something bad. Like you’re cheating on your goals or something. I don’t like to readily admit that I’m taking an extra rest day when because of Twitter and my blog, most people know what I’m supposed to be running that day. I don’t like admitting that defeat.
But maybe that’s the problem. Is it really defeat?
I don’t think it it is. But the self-imposed pressure of setting big goals, meticulously scheduling your training and the high that comes after each workout has a way of making it feel that way sometimes. I prefer to look at it as just another part of training. Just like some days you feel like tacking on an extra km, some days I feel like I need an extra break.
Just like that other four letter word, rest happens sometimes.
It’s no secret that my fall was crazy busy with the new house and travelling etc. and then we plunged head-first into the holidays. Keeping up with my training schedule was one of the few things that helped me feel grounded during these crazy weeks. It felt great to get those long marathon-training runs done each weekend.
But after my bad day last Friday with all of the snow, something just didn’t feel right about the long run I had planned for that weekend. I’d barely had a moment to catch my breath between getting ready for Christmas, ready for guests, last-minute shopping and social events and I was feeling like I wasn’t giving anything 100%. So I decided to take a step back and listen to what my body might be trying to say and I’m pretty sure I heard, “Let’s take a little break, Nik”
So I did. As a little Christmas present to myself, I took the week right over Christmas off. It wasn’t planned. And I wasn’t particularly happy about missing a week’s worth of runs but it felt like the right thing to do. I desperately wanted to be happily running on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day but in my heart I felt like I needed the rest far more than the satisfaction of being able to Tweet or IG those runs. Ha ha.
Did my break pay off? Well, I won’t really know that until after tomorrow’s long run and my other runs this week. It was pretty nice to slow right down however and give 100% simply to enjoying Christmas and being with family. It was a nice break to reconnect and rest. Which was exactly the point.
Our Christmas was lovely and it was fun to welcome family and friends to our new house to celebrate. We even got to spend our very first Christmas morning all to ourselves, just us and the boys. We’ve always been with family so it was a treat to have our own Christmas and start some of our own traditions.
But now it’s back to the grind. With rest often comes a bit of indulgence and with the holidays that is pretty much a given. Tomorrow’s 24ish km run should be a good start to burning off some of those gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pies!