Less is more. I find myself saying this often. About many things. It’s one of those pieces of “zen” advice that I wish I could follow all the time. It can be applied to many things, like….
- Stressing about housework: it never ends anyway, right?
- Over-scheduling your kids: this backfires, right?
- Running: less is more. What?
I know. It’s hard to think that you get MORE with LESS running. But sometimes, this is true. Just like over-thinking leads to over-thinking, running too much leads to Running. Too. Much. Don’t get me wrong. There is no distance that sounds crazy to me. Everything is relative. One woman’s 5K is another’s 100 miler. It’s all good.
I have learned the hard way (several times) that recovery is a skill. The key to recovery is becoming a kick butt rester! If you’re injured, it’s even more important to get good at rest and recovery. I fantasize about being the person who can run a 50K then go run another in a week, or hop in a marathon after a marathon. I’ve tried. I get injured every time.
You have to respect the rest
I used to look up to people who could run and run and run and never stop. Now I look up to people who know when to rest. AND, who aren’t afraid to say so. It’s hard to cut a run short and not beat yourself up about it all day.
A friend of mine said to me once, “I wonder what it would be like if, you know, we actually acknowledged our injuries. How long would it take to get back to running?” We are so good at convincing ourselves that we should run through injury. We are horrible at convincing ourselves to rest!
5 Strategies to Becoming a Kick-Butt Rester
1. Resting Makes us Stronger: Think of resting as strengthening. Our bodies get stronger when we rest. Our torn and tired muscles heal when we sleep, eat and sit on the couch. Think about race training. You run 9 to 11 miles before a half marathon. Then you rest. When you go run 13.1, you’re muscles are rested and healed up even BETTER and stronger than before.
2. Recovery is Part of Training: It’s so common for us to think that rest is some other thing we do that’s not part of our fitness or training. But recovery is NOT separate from training. It’s part of it. It’s all one journey. Your current recovery is essential to the success of our next event.
3. It Takes Practice to Learn What YOUR Recovery Time is: I have finally learned that my body needs more recovery time than many of my friends. I like to do several races a year. Just not too close together. You have to listen to your body, not your friends or a race calendar. Most importantly, if you decide you need to run or race less than your friends or less than what you could do when you were younger. THAT’S OK.
4. Worrying While Resting is Missing the Point: Don’t worry. Your body will know what to do when it’s time to run. Your legs won’t forget. Your heart will not forget what it loves to do. My coach used to tell me that you have to relax so your body won’t resist healing. Mind and body are connected.
5. Fresh Legs are Awesome! If you love running. I mean really love it, you know that waiting is the hardest part. Waiting for the energy. Waiting for the strength. Waiting for the body’s green light. It might mean waiting a day, waiting a week. Or longer. When it comes, it’s all systems go. Your legs will reward you with quickness, strength and a freshness that only comes with taking a break.
My Challenge for You
As much as you seek to find the limits of speed, distance, endurance or altitude, challenge yourself to find the balance of rest. It’s the key to your success in your next marathon, or any race, just as much as the next PR. I’m cheering you on to become a kick butt rester!
Do you struggle with needing to rest? What do you do to help yourself get down time and heal from an injury or chill between racing or hard runs?