Rest as part of your training program

Posted: November 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

Most distance runners will tell you that rest is an important part of any training program.  It allows your body to adapt to the increased training workload, muscles to strengthen and new levels of fitness to be achieved.  It also allows for the common aches and pains that go along with serious training to be managed and not lead to injury.  That said it is very, very challenging for distance runners to simply rest and take some time away from the street and trails.

Since recovering from an Iliotibial Band injury at the Philadelphia Marathon in November 2006, I have run 5 days per week (sometimes 6 to be completely honest) for the past three years.  Vacations, holidays, trips, rain, wind, snow, dark mornings, evenings when traveling for work – I have even logged miles in the morning only to be followed by a second run in the evening if my travel schedule was not accomodating.  Even I however know deep down that rest is an important part of any training program.  My typical rest days each week are Mondays and Fridays – however I substitute strength training on those days as well as Wednesdays – so in essence I have been training more or less seven days a week since my 40th birthday.  Time for a break, no?

Well, this week is the week.  I have been nursing a mild calf strain in my right leg for a couple of weeks and coupled with coming down with a bad cold this week – I have decided to skip my Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday runs this week to recover, reenergize, refocus and gear up for Boston Marathon training which will begin on December 14th, 18 weeks before toeing the line in Hopkinton, MA on April 19th.

Up until midnight tonight I will have only “skipped” one run this week so far and it is already killing me.  Everything I know to be true about the need for rest and recovery is still not a comfort.  My calf strain already feels 100% better after only two consecutive rest days, but still those Asics are calling for me from the bedroom closet.

There is a great article from Runners World bestowing the benefits of rest in your training programs:

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267–13104-0,00.html

It talks about Ron Hill (a British Olympic Marathoner) who has literally run every day since 1964.  Thank goodness for people like Ron Hill who make people like me seem far more normal than we probably are.  Thank you Ron!  Next week cannot arrive fast enough!

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