When unscheduled rest days happen…

Yesterday was a light day, just ran about six and a half (slow snowy trail) miles and did 20 hill repeats… first workout in as long as I can remember, really. It was kind of nice in a weird, mindless, repetitive way. A good little workout that didn’t leave me crazy sore or anything.

But when I finally went to bed, I could feel the fatigue in my legs. This week has really been my first one Back-back, and I kind of jumped into it pretty quickly in combination with focusing on my forefoot strike… leaving my calves pretty beat up and my feet more than a little stiff and sore. So when I woke up this morning for my planned 18 miles, it was with a sigh and a groan. And thus I was caught in another timeless runner’s dilemma: run what you’ve scheduled and maybe have a really terrible run, cut it short, or take the day off?

After about an hour and a half, I finally dragged myself out of bed and into my running gear and gingerly stepped out the door. The first half mile was fine: sunny and relatively warm (windchill of almost 20!), but not long after that, I just stopped on the paved trail and looked around. I was barely moving and my calves had absolutely zero spring in them. And I was just tired. Coming off of not running with too much intensity (or, to be honest, much at all) and almost accidentally heading for an 80-mile week isn’t something done easily. I stood there for a few minutes, half-anger-pouting, half-arguing with myself about whether this was just me being a wimp or if I was actually ignoring my body, and finally decided on the latter (with some grumbling). I headed back home in a slightly roundabout way to see if I’d change my mind, but I didn’t. So what was supposed to be an 18-miler turned into a 2+ mile flush run, basically.

But still. Unscheduled rest days are so mentally tough for runners. The nagging question remains: could I have run? would it have been fine? It’s always difficult for me to get over this and just go on with my day. I have such a hard time differentiating between actually listening to my body and wondering if I’m making up excuses – especially when I’ve set totally arbitrary (and possibly unwise) goals, like an 80-mile-week for my first real week back. Once I set those goals, however, they’re nearly impossible to unstick from my mind. Even if I do a 70-mile week, which is great, I’ll still most likely feel like I’ve failed to achieve something that is entirely a mental construction and has no real bearing on anything… this early in training, anyway.

Running is so dependent on mental things like this. How do you guys deal with them?

peace love and running!
bec

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