June 17, 2014

Mandatory recovery and do you rest enough?

My coach gave me a mandatory week off from running after my recent Asheville Half Marathon that has actually turned into nearly two weeks of no running.  Honestly, it does not bother me.  While I love to run with my group, my body definitely needs the rest after such a taxing race.  Older runners probably need a little more time to recuperate and I am milking that one to the max!

Runner's World Magazine and several other online sites have excellent articles about rest and recovery that I have read and reread to truly understand exactly what the correct balance is for me.  Everyone has different ways to recover, but at the end of the day, several things have proven most critical for my optimal recovery from a hard race.

1. Sleep Most of us do not get enough sleep.  Anyone racing a half marathon or longer distance race needs extra sleep for your body to be prepared for the long practices and races that it will endure. One of the signs of over training is changes in your sleep patterns and insomnia. Be sure to check your training log if you are having trouble sleeping. You just may find a parallel.

3. Break from training Most runners I know have difficulty staying away from the roads or treadmill after a race.  While running should be off your training plan, this is the perfect time to cross train.  Biking, swimming, gym machines, strength training, tennis etc are perfect ways to have some fun exercising and keeping your fitness level high. After very difficult run workouts, a rest day or low impact cross training day will keep your body strong but help avoid the overuse injuries such as stress fractures and the dreaded shin splints.

4. Embrace your rest days:  More is not always better and a rest day actually makes you stronger by giving your body time to adapt to the harder workouts.  Sometimes, in the midst of a very hard training cycle, you may wish to take more than one rest day per week.  Give yourself permission to let your body recover and adapt. A few years ago, while a new runner, I found this really hard to do.  Even after some tough races, I did not give myself enough of a break.  Now, I listen to coach Sami and pay attention to my post race/workout aches and pains to take plenty of time to recover before I lace up my shoes for another run.

Rest days don't exclude shopping for new shoes though!

Here are some links to the articles that I have found to be very helpful:
The Rest is Easy:  http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/rest-easy

Time to Rest:  http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/time-rest?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-Training-_-10SignsNeedRestDay

What to do on rest and recovery days:  http://www.active.com/running/articles/what-to-do-on-rest-and-recovery-days

Why you need to rest:  http://www.therunnersguide.com/rest/

Do you have any special tips for recovery?  Do you take rest days?






12 comments:

  1. Enjoy your rest day s Pam! you deserve them. ~M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Meranda. Rest days can be fun providing you look at the positive side rather than the, "I can't run today what should I do" attitude!

      Delete
  2. I am very good at rest days. Sometimes so good I rest instead of run! (oops.)

    I agree that rest days are SO important. Not only should they be scheduled into any training plan or for after a race, but sometimes I think we really need to listen to our bodies and take an unplanned rest day. I like to think I've been good at listening to what my body needs in terms of rest and recovery and I think it's been what has helped keep me injury free since I started running (knock on wood!). Enjoy your rest time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Danielle. I am learning to be at rest too!

      Delete
  3. Unfortunately, I enjoy resting more than training! Ha! But good points here. I know when I'm really training hard, if I take 2 days off, my next run is better than if I had just taken 1 day off. Sometimes your body just gets too fatigued.

    Love the shoes. I'm a Brooks girl- what model are they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jamie, my shoes are the latest version of Brooks Ravennas!

      Delete
  4. THANK YOU for the validation!!! I am 'an older runner' (in my eyes) at 54 and definitely see the benefits of recovery. I continue to complete half marathons AT MY AGE :-) with very little repercussions, but I take care of myself before, during and after the runs. My special tip for recovery is ICE BATH!!! Ah yes... This helps me so much and I recently found VegaSport recovery accelerator that I drink immediately after finishing the run. I value rest days on my training plans as I can sleep in and enjoy treating myself to it! LMYR!!!! (Long May You Run)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, an ice bath is essential after long hard runs. Thanks for reminding me!

      Delete
  5. Hope you are enjoying your rest days! You're right about no sleep...that's deftiniely something we all need more of! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Totally agree Karen. We forget how much energy we lose if we are not getting enough sleep. Naps are helpful too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. As I've gotten "older" (what constitutes an "older" runner anyway?), I find my training is much more effective running three days a week as opposed to five or six. I've also found that my recovery time has decreased considerably on this plan as well. It took me two weeks to feel normal again my first half. Now, it's more like four days. I guess we can call that progress, right?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post. It's easy to forget to rest when you're on top of the world after a race! I fell victim and paid the price too. I will always embrace my rest days in the future!!

    ReplyDelete