Friday, February 18, 2011

R&R is HaRd

It has always been so easy for me to tell others to take a day off or to take a day of active rest.  But to tell myself that it's ok to rest, not a chance!  Ever since college, on my "off day" I would go easy by just running 10 120's or doing the 300m shuttle run test.  Not quite an off day but a much shorter day than any other spent getting fit.  Now my off day's are either spent playing 80 minutes of soccer or doing a "light" 5.5 mile run - through the National Zoo ( basically a hill workout).

I must admit I've been getting better at scheduling in and allowing the R&R to happen in my training schedule.  I saw the benefits a few years ago during summer workouts in college and have been mimicking the same idea of building and peaking both in a micro-cycle and macro-cycle.  Now that I am training for 3 sports - swimming, cycling, and running I struggle with the idea of taking a complete day off.  I'll think well I'll just swim - that's impact free or I'll just ride easy because I haven't been on the bike in a couple days.  I am allowing myself to cross-train on Friday mornings - using the elliptical and to take Monday evening off to have a relaxing evening with friends after being in class from 9am to 7pm.

What do you do on your days off?  What's your favorite way to Cross-train?

Last weekend was my big R&R weekend that I had scheduled into my training plan.  Naturally I pushed myself extra hard for the 5 days leading up to Thursday - what would be my first complete day off in 2011.  By Tuesday evening I was exhausted I had to pack, finish a presentation, and complete an assignment - as well as do a speed workout and hit the gym.  I listened to my body and took Tuesday afternoon off - and typed a nice FATIGUE into my training log.  I was filled with exercise guilt at first but let it go as I knew I was doing the right thing for my body.  Wednesday's workouts were awesome.  I killed my speed workout and hit the pool hard on Wednesday morning!  It felt great to feel fresh and re-invigorated by just allowing myself that afternoon off.

The real challenge came as I was in New Orleans Wednesday evening through Sunday morning.  This was the scheduled R&R time.  The time between switching my training from a base program to more of a build program.  Thursday was busy - the first day of conference and plenty of walking to and from the Convention Center as well as down Bourbon St.   Friday morning I was aching more a good sweat, so naturally I hit up the gym for 60:00 solid minutes on the elliptical.  The hotel gym was packed - so luckily I was forced to use the elliptical.  Time off could have easily turned into a long run had a snagged a treadmill.  Saturday was once again busy and filled with walking all over downtown and exploring.

Do you schedule R&R to over vacations or do you workout through your vacation time?

Taking time off is a fine and precise line between allowing my body to rest and recover and keeping my insanity.  Yes, occasionally I need a mental and physical break from training but exercise is my release and my go to - my daily constant.  Without some form of daily workout my entire temperament can change!

Now that I am back into the swing of things and training hard I am so grateful for the time off!  I have been feeling great when I go to workout and I know my body needs the rest time to repair and become stronger.  Without rest all this training would just be making me more tired and weaker.  One of my most cherished and simple types of rest is my nightly sleep - 8.5 hrs/night!  What a good chance for your body to re-cooperate and be stronger than it was the day before!

Do you struggle to actually take time off?  How much sleep do you get at night?

Why would you ever expect a hard workout to feel easy?  You must be willing to do something you've never done to achieve something you've never had. 

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