Rest Days…I’ve always hated rest days. …and I mean that, I’ve struggled with taking time off both mentally and physically. There has always been a part of me that is scared to take time off because there is this irrational part of my brain that tells me rest days will make me weak, that they are for pansies, that I’m not tired, that other people are training there for I should be too. To top it all off…I’m just horrible at sitting still, I fidget, I fuss, I get antsy. As you can imagine long lectures at school were not my strong suit. I hated rest days so much that I used to avoid them at all cost. I would mow the lawn for four hours, cut and stack wood, wear ankle weights like they were the newest hottest summer accessory. I would go on 30 minute jogs and do core in front of the TV. Last season I became so good at avoiding rest days that I hardly took any at all.
Needless to say it was a long year. At one point I went two months without a single day off. Looking back on it I’ve learned some invaluable information about my body and training. Its taken me a season of feeling flat to realize how important rest and recovery is. One would think I would have realized something was wrong sooner but skiing has taught me to push through so much that I had forgotten to listen to my body. Instead of listening to how lifeless my legs felt, I just numbed myself to all sensation and by the middle of winter I don’t think I could have told you what fresh felt like.
It wasn’t until after the last races of the season when I took a week completely off did I realize how tired my body was and the amount of stress it had endured for the past 11 months. After a spring of much-needed rest I re-evaluated what I had put myself through and came away feeling more prepared than ever to tackle another year of training and racing. Although there are still days where I’m tempted to make my three-hour rides four hours or more, and where I happen to “get lost” on a really good run I’m doing much better. I’m training copious amounts but I’ve already almost taken as many days off in the first quarter of training that I took over the entire year last season.
Yesterday was monday (which happens to be my rest day) and boy was I glad when I woke up to overcast skies…something about bad weather makes it easier for me to not go off the deep end and lace up my running shoes. I caught up on some house keeping (or lodge keeping), baked a batch of delicious cookies, played around with my pretty new rifle (my hand-me-down Nordgren special), and went wild blueberry hunting. I may or may not have picked a few berries that were blue but however distant cousins of actual blueberries but since I’m still very much alive I’m not too worried yet?
Here’s to training smarter than ever.