Rest? So dull

Is it me who just gets niggly on rest days?

I’ve resorted to watching Anthony Andrews hamming it up in some dreadful 1980s Agatha Christie film and all I want to do is go for a run across the fields.

Apparently we’re supposed to see ‘rest’ days as ‘recovery’ days. Days when our bodies mend, when we can do some yoga or pilates – all good for us.

No doubt I’ll have a rubbish run again soon but all this week I’ve been beating mile times, feeling strong and I want to be doing that. But I suppose I could mess all that up if I get injured – better to do the right thing and keep running faster.

And yes, I could be doing something else other than watching this rubbish film – cleaning the bathroom, for example. Hmm… maybe stick with the Anthony Andrews pap.

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When staying in bed is your smartest move

Seems to fly in the face of a runner’s worth ethic, doesn’t it, but I’m learning the lesson that resting has an important role in training.

After a heavy training session, while you are not running your body is busy building itself, stronger and ultimately faster.

And so although I was itching for a run this morning, when I got out of bed and realised my thigh muscles were still recovering from Sunday’s training session, I went into work early instead.

Last week I packed in three runs and two yoga sessions between Monday and Friday and consequently ended up limping round the office for a couple of days as the muscles around my hip tightened up.

So easy does it this week… until tomorrow morning anyway.

Recovery rocks

There is a good reason for taking a break after a tough training session – your body needs to recover and more running will do it no good at all.

Rest and recovery are as important as nutrition and sleep.

The science goes a bit like this, according to Harry the personal trainer: after a heavy session of exercise – like mine today – your muscle fibres have torn. They knit themselves back together and as they do they build more muscle, hence muscles get bigger and stronger. And to do all that knitting they need a break.

Give them a day or two’s breathing space and they’ll still be less than 100% and so you’ll find a testing session, like some interval training, won’t be easy. Maybe harder than it was the week before.

But that doesn’t mean you’re getting worse. It means you’re pushing your body harder and that will mean more tearing and knitting and building and strengthening.

It’s a fine balance isn’t it, between overtraining and gaining maximum benefit. If in doubt, easy does it.