learning to be good to myself

I tend to get wrapped up in things. I immerse myself and push too hard.

Sometimes, it’s a good thing. Sometimes, not so much.

At the moment, I’m having a hard time giving myself permission to rest. In some ways, I don’t think I’ve worked hard enough to have earned downtime. My longest run has been under four miles, and while that’s impressive for me, considering I built up from zero miles, it’s just not a real “rest” situation in my head.


My body and my brain often have different ideas.

Like this morning? I figured that I gave myself enough of a break with some Yoga Meltdown in the morning and a nice 6.27 mile walk with my girlfriends at night. I thought that would have been sufficient to loosen up my calves (which were tight from Monday’s race), and get me back in the swing of training. I set my alarm and woke up on time, but my left heel and right ankle were twinge-y.

Not painful. Not sore. Just off.

In my head, I’m a wuss for not pushing through it. I feel like if I got out of bed and laced up, I would have been ok. But then, I wonder, what if it’s something to treat carefully? What if pushing through caused something to pop or snap or (gulp) break?

On the other hand, I wake up achey sometimes. I’m not the springiest of spring chickens. If I put off my training every time I felt a little stiff or sore, I would never get out there.

I have been so inspired by so many amazing athletes over the past months, and I feel it’s almost insulting for someone like me, a rookie for all intents and purposes, to back down from a challenge because of discomfort. But, at the same time, it would be even worse to injure myself over a case of the stubborns.

Honestly, I don’t feel great about my choice to stay in this morning, and I plan on going out for another really long walk to make up for it. I feel more like a lazy lump than a runner making a sound decision in my own best interests. Also, Mr PugRunner wants a redemption race (and I want to tag along), so I feel like I squandered a training day. I worry (irrationally) that too many days between runs will end with my body forgetting what I’ve worked so hard to teach it.

I was on such a high after Monday’s race, and now I feel momentum slipping away. It’s frustrating, but it sounds like a necessary evil in this running world.

How do you feel about rest days?

At what point of discomfort do you give yourself permission to take a break?


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14 Responses to learning to be good to myself

  1. Lora says:

    Good for you for listening to yourself! I have SUCH a hard time doing that. I want to go go go go go go. It’s why I think I got into yoga and meditation. To force myself to learn to slow down!! Listening to the body is key–and so is taking rest days! 🙂
    Lora recently posted…Being Comfortable with the UncomfortableMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      And that’s the exact reason that yoga and I do not get along. I just can’t quiet myself the way you need to. I’m listening to my body; I just don’t like it!

  2. I am totally with you about taking rest days. I am a sort of OCD person who really likes training plans and sticking to a schedule, but I have learned that your body knows what is going on and that I should listen when it speaks. Take the day off–rest the part that hurts–and then if it feels better–get back out there. If you are really not liking just chillin, take a yoga class or spend some time with your foam roller. 1 or 2 days won’t derail your plan or your fitness.
    Beth @ Read Hard Run Harder recently posted…Are you getting enough H2O?My Profile

  3. I hear ya. I have a hard time with that too. Sometimes I blame a body part not hurting when really, it probably was fine… and other times I hurt myself by not taking that rest day. It’s tough lol. I say, just keep at it, take your rest days but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself either!
    Ari @ The Pace of it All recently posted…Ask Ari… answers on running, teaching and travel.My Profile

  4. Emily Phan says:

    It’s hard to give yourself day(s) off, especially when you have the running bug! But listen to your body. If you’re overly tired, or you get sick, or have some aches and pains, it’s okay to give yourself a break for a day or two! I read somewhere that it takes at least a week to two weeks to start declining in fitness. So if you take a day or two off, don’t worry, you won’t lose all you’ve gained, and your body will definitely thank you for it. Overuse injuries are very common in runners who don’t listen to their body (*ahem* me), so don’t be like that! LOL

  5. Anne says:

    Take it from a girl who couldn’t run for almost a yer due to an overuse injury, rest days matter!

    Even if you ae having a hard time with them tell your brain to shut it, otherwise you risk quite a few in intended rest days 🙂

  6. Matilda says:

    We all have at one stage or another under estimated rest days. I know I have.
    I would rather have an extra rest day and recovery completely than to go back out and injury myself further, and then be on the sideline for weeks or months.
    I give myself 1 rest day where I don’t allocate any activity, that’s usually a Sunday. I also allow a low impact rest day (usually a Wednesday), where I do yoga or go for a swim. This works for me. It’s important to find what works for you too, cause what works for one person may not work for another.

    • runswithpugs says:

      That is definitely true about what works for one person not working for another. You know, we do have a pool in my neighborhood. I should start taking advantage of it in the early morning.

  7. Larissa says:

    Embrace the rest days! I schedule in 2 rest days in a week, and I take it a step further and take a full week off every 5 weeks or so. Seriously, I’ve learned I function best like this, and I feel like I can run forever after that week off to let my body fully recover. I also only run 3 or 4 days a week max (and do yoga or strength training a couple days) and I hardly ever run 2 days in a row.

    Injuries have forced me to be this careful, but I absolutely should have been like this a long time ago too. The most important thing is to keep your body healthy!

    Also, do you have a foam roller or stick roller? This (http://tgt.biz/10MmrdL) is what I have and I absolutely love it. It has cut my recovery times drastically!
    Larissa recently posted…I know you missed meMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I like the idea of taking off the full week. Theoretically. Easier said than done, of course, but it definitely sounds like something to try, or at the very least, suggest to Mr PugRunner. He’s been having a hard time with the summer heat and maybe a week respite would help him.

      A foam roller is on my Big List o” Stuff I Want. Thanks for the link!

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