Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some Days, You Just Have To Rest

Although it is only Wednesday, this is my contribution to Take It and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge. This week's theme is Rest and Recovery, and I am chiming in today because, yes, I took an unscheduled day off today.

I know, some people don't need days off. There is an organization for people who run every day, called the United States Running Streak Association. The Grand Masters, nine of them, have run every day for more than 35 years. Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, and then, not knowing what to do next, he ran from New York to St. Louis, averaging 30 miles a day. Not virtually. Really. If you are one of those people who never needs a day off, I salute you.

However, most runners are like me. I need days off. I'm totally addicted to running, and couldn't quit if I wanted to, but I can't do it every day. My weekly schedule has two non-running days, one where I cross-train, and one where I just do nothing. And, as I say, I don't always follow the schedule. For the third day in a row, I woke up feeling lifeless, and I decided to give in. I went back to bed, got extra sleep, and now I feel OK. And I predict that tomorrow, I'll feel great on my morning run.

There are other ways to rest besides taking days off. My weekly schedule includes two easy runs. I don't worry about time, and I don't go a particularly long distance. That gives me a kind of moving recovery. I burn the calories, get the endorphins, but don't overtax my body.

My schedule also includes easy weeks, which are recommended by just about every running guru I know. I ran almost 50 miles two weeks ago, and a little over 50 last week, and so it was time to slow down and consolidate my gains. My schedule only has 22 miles this week, and depending on whether or not I make up today's miss, I might even run less than that.

Of course, you have to work out what's best for you. Maybe you're Dean Karnazes, and all the rest you need is the few hours between runs. Maybe you're a new runner, and you run three and rest four each week. One way or another, remember to keep on running, but keep on resting, too.