Resting is an integral part of running and working out.
We all know it to be true. Whether or not we honor the rest period is another story.
I’ll admit it: I am afraid of taking an extended break from running. While I am active and in good shape, the idea of losing fitness while on hiatus can be terrifying. Even though I have been in the running game for over five years, I still don’t consider myself “good” (whatever that means), and my confidence hinges on my ability to get out there, week after week, putting up the miles.
In fairness, I take rest DAYS. But nothing more than that.
In the first week of the new year, there were decisions to be made. We were going on vacation to a new climate. Bitter cold winter. I wouldn’t have access to a treadmill, and while I had plenty of layers and gloves available, I didn’t know how I would fare in snow, ice, wind and altitude. The thought of abandoning my running shoes for a full six days was pretty unappealing, But at the end of the day, I had to consider my own safety and well being.
I also had to consider my family. They are so very generous with the time I take for my running and fitness, and they know I will usually sneak out to get in a run or two. This time, with no treadmill available, I would have to cut into our day in order to get in some miles in the warmest, brightest part of the afternoon. I could see how that wouldn’t fly.
The shoes stayed home.
This didn’t mean I sat on my rump for six days. Oh, no, sir. I just didn’t do any traditional (for me) exercises.
After spending a total of eight hours in the car, I was really ready to move. Granted, the amount of shivering I was doing probably counted as its own workout, but I craved fresh air and movement.
On the Wednesday of that day, I learned how to ski for the second time. We spent about four hours on the slopes. I’m not going to pretend I was great at it, or even that I did anything heroic on the hill, but the effort of tramping around in the boots alone left me in a sweat. In fact, I ditched my jacket within minutes of getting all my gear on because I was so hot.
The next day, weather kept us housebound. I took two naps. We went for a nice family walk in the snow, and then a second walk when visiting a friend’s cabin. Nothing major. The exercise seemed to come from bundling up and trying to stay upright on the snow and ice.
And then we tubed. It didn’t feel like we were exerting a ton of effort, especially since there was a magic carpet to get us from the bottom of the runs back up to the top of the hill, but marching around in our boots, dragging a tube around sure did tucker me out.
At the end of the week, and after another full day in the car, I was desperate to slip into my running shoes. I didn’t care that the temperatures were still freezing in Florida, or that I would have to set my alarm after a super early morning the day before. I was so nervous to see what impact the time away had on my run.
The verdict? Not a thing. I fell right back into it as if nothing had happened. Although I elected for a shorter run of just over four miles as my comeback workout, it wasn’t even a notably slow or difficult effort. In fact, I felt energized and if I didn’t have obligations for the rest of the day, I might have kept going. Additionally, I wasn’t sore at the time or in the days to come.
It was comforting to see that a week of average (maybe even below average) activity wasn’t a huge derailment to my overall fitness. I will also note that I kept my eating reasonable. We cooked most meals in our cabin, and enjoyed our out meals. I may have had a few more glasses of wine than I normally would, but hey. We were on vacation.
Now, it’s time for me to ramp back into training for the rest of my race season. My longer distances will take me through April, and I feel like I’m in a great place, physically and mentally, to take on the challenges ahead.
How often do you take dedicated rest breaks?
Do you always continue workouts through vacation or do you take time off from your regular regime?