I need to talk about Rest

If it causes me anxiety, or I start having rapid thoughts about what I’m going to “do” instead of run, or I begin to distrust the training plan…that’s a sure sign I’m in need of a day off running.

It’s been so long. I haven’t taken a day off since I begin training over 3 months ago.

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I remember when I used to take a day off EACH WEEK. I believed I simply could not run every day. There were too many problems with that. So much standing in my way.

Many of my concerns were valid. There’s a higher chance of injury, burnout or overtraining. It sounds crazy to run everyday. Rest days are GOOD. They help the body recovery and allow for adaption. They prepare the mind for the long, endurance days.

I respect rest days. I respect people who take them every week. During my next cycle, that athlete might be me.

This one has been different. I am following a plan from Brad Hudson’s Run Faster training book. I have done essentially what it’s said, give or take a few miles or hopping in a 5 mile race with my teammate. It’s been a great experience so far.

This plan, however, does not include rest days. At all. This is the FIRST ONE of the 20 week training plan.

Last night when I saw today’s instructions, I almost forgot what it meant. I forgot how not to wake up and run. That sounds so easy, just don’t go…but for someone who thrives on routine and has gotten so used to my morning, it was kind of…weird.

Point blank, I got anxiety and began to barter with myself.

Just a few miles, easy.

I’ll just run really easy.

Rest day just means easy right?

No. Rest means no running. And GOD DAMN it was hard to convince myself not to lace up my shoes this morning and put in an easy 3.

But here I am, now at work at the gym, writing this and I’ve realized that if a simple rest day was giving me so much anxiety…I need i mentally.

Now, thinking about it, feeling the lingering fatigue and soreness in my legs, I need it physically. I’ve not had an easy past few weeks of work. Things are starting to change now, but it has been anything but restful. The miles, the time on feet, everything that I love about my life, is also making me kind of tired.

I don’t have the pop. The zip. The pep right now. I know it will come back, but only if I rest.

Truly rest and take care of my body.

That means a rest day today, however tough it may be emotionally for me.

I realize how lucky I am. How fortunate to have the opportunity to run like I do. To get up everyday in a beautiful place, (especially now that the weather is above 30) run safely and go to a job I love. However, even though I enjoy my days does not mean my body doesn’t get tired.

This body, my wonderful body is only as strong as it can recover enough to be. It needs a bit of TLC today, so that’s what I plan to give it.

Ellie Pell