If you lose your way, stand still.
Sometimes it seems like when things fall apart or get so busy we keep going and doing. Sometimes just standing still to take a breath will see us through the moment, and the next one too.
I’ve already said I’m getting tired. I’m
battling toying with a bit of an injury as well: my illiotibial band starts acting up in a run when the mileage increases. Speedwork and stairs don’t help either. Neither do hills.
Taking care of your body is especially important when injured. Addressing what comes up is critical, and on-going. But it’s more than just pain we are addressing.
As a runner (and probably a bit of a Type A personality), I want to keep running. Not just tomorrow, but for the next week, month and years. It’s hard to slow down (or stop) to cut back on my volume when I’m not feeling great. But trying to keep going can lead to too much training. Overtraining can lead to rough sleep, depleted energy and slower run times. Unrealistically, I always assume that if I run more and put in more effort, my times will get better and I will get stronger. Definitely not true.
Sometimes stepping back and letting go of my training plans leads to unexpected results, and rest. So often I have heard of friends training for an event, getting injured, having to take time off, and coming back even stronger. It makes sense; you give the body time to recover and it repairs and heals from the stress it has endured. Then it can build off the level of fitness you have achieved, not struggling to maintain it.
Staying healthy while exercising is a task in itself. The biggest difference I’ve noticed in this training cycle has been that I am stronger and faster. I think cross-training more (core workouts, swimming, upper-body strength workouts) has helped me to avoid injury for longer, but I have done more – and causing more stress as well. It’s a fine balance between doing enough to push your body, but not so much that you are causing damage. These last few weeks I have stepped back and given up a few workouts a week. It was not easy! I worried and thought that I would fall apart (even more than I had been).
Today we ran our longest run ever. It was also the hardest, with over 1600 feet of elevation gain on the run. I knew I was capable but you still have to go and do it. My legs hurt the first 15 km (mostly uphill) and then the next few after that (mostly downhill). But after I knew I could get up those big hills and do it, my body settled down. It was just about relaxing and doing. I finished the run feeling sore physically, but mentally strong. I was even able to pick up my pace the last 6 km. I had rested enough.
So in my days of being busy, I found space to allow my mind to relax as well. To know and to trust myself. To take the time to connect with how I am feeling, and for me that meant running less. Doing less. Being more.
Overall, I just want to take a simple approach: eat right, rest when tired, run for enjoyment. There are many other things that go on in my life that cause complications, draw on my time, and leave me busy. I want to remember what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Not just to get it done.
*Do you create space in your life for rest? How do you manage your recovery? What do you do to feel less “busy?”