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Saturday, September 17, 2011

finding courage to rest

I refuse to let my bubble burst.  I refuse to give up.  Right now though, "not giving up" doesn't mean pushing myself to the limits on the track or increasing my mileage on the weekends.  What it means is easing off, having the courage to rest, and giving my body the time it needs to heal and recover from the marathon I ran last weekend.  It means listening to my body and believing in the power of rest and recovery.  Believing that now is the time for repair and healing so that I can come back stronger and ready to race MCM at the end of October.

It is not easy to take this time off, trust me.  It's making me feel emotional, scared and depressed.  I'm facing thoughts of self-doubt left and right.  Mental toughness is my training ground right now and I am knee deep in it, fighting scary negative-thought demons.

After racing my marathon last Sunday I felt really strong on Monday.  Sore in all the right places, happy with my new PR, armed with new ideas about how to perform better in my next race, etc.  I wanted so badly to get right back on board with my MCM training plan as soon as my muscle soreness went away.  But I really don't think I was being realistic about what it really means to fully recover.

I didn't run all week until yesterday morning.  I waited until my muscles didn't feel sore anymore, but they were tight and now today I'm sore again.  My left hamstring in particular really does not feel right.  I'm afraid I'll be on a fast track towards an injury if I push this and I just cannot have that happen to me.  I've worked too hard, been too smart, to have something like this happen to me now.

It's going to take a lot of courage.  A whole lot of faith.  And it may take a lot more time than I want it to.  But it is time for my body heal and recover.  I get that now.  This is a crucial part of my training - I believe that recovery is just as important to improving my running as speed workouts, long runs and hill work are.  I approach those aspects of my training with a lot of enthusiasm and planning.  What I'm realizing now is that I have to be more creative with my recovery time otherwise I will go crazy and fall into a depression.  I figure I have two choices: 1) ignore recovery and risk the very likely incidence of injury or 2) embrace recovery and be creative with it so I don't go crazy: find things I enjoy doing like biking, walking, yoga, pilates...to stay active and fit until I can resume my training again.  I'm going with option 2 here.  Hopefully I can be back to a more normal looking training schedule in just a couple of weeks but I don't think I should put pressure on myself.  I have to listen to and respect my body.  I've been asking a lot of it lately and if I want to feel ready on race day I'm going to have to give my body what it is asking of me.  REST.  It's a two-way street! 

4 comments:

Go pool running!!!!!!!

I'm telling you. It's a great workout and ZERO impact. I'm a total believer now after several weekends of it and lots of Internet research that confirms its benefits.

Recovery is different for everyone and what works for one person doesn't at all for another. Find what works for your body and do it. :) Listen to the aches and pains, and try different things (slow and easy miles, yoga, foam roller, etc.)

And NO SELF DOUBT ALLOWED. You are way too awesome for that :)

You are being very smart. Pushing it now is a sure-fire way to get injured and I'm really glad you are recognizing that. Do you cross train at all? Deep water running or swimming are good things to do when you are sore that also promote recovery. No self-doubt. . . you will be back at your training in no time!

Hi Jessica! I second the swimming/pool running suggestions. I do not like swimming at all myself, but it will give you the oxygen you need without compromising your absolutely sensible resolution to rest. You will do so well at MCM and you are doing all the right things!!

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