Taking a Break

15 Aug

The Olympics are over. That’s what goes through my head about fifteen times a day now that the athletes have finished their exploits and are back to their normal schedules. So now, I will be back to scavenging the web for just a morsel of media on these athletes and their astounding training and accomplishments. I repeatedly hear interviews mentioning that phrase “in four years.” Four years! Obviously, there is going to be an enormous amount of work before Rio, 2016, but first, they finally get to rest.

Ever had one of those workouts that made the previous night’s sleep irrelevant? You know, that long run you finished that was followed by some banana pancakes, a five minute attempt at yard work, and then realizing it’s been two hours since you came in and lay down on the floor. I have to say, I love it when that happens. No thinking is required, your body just demands rest and there is nothing you can do about it. I think I would be a much better runner if my body decided to take over like that all the time. I would always be ready for the next run, wouldn’t worry about overtraining, and would definitely never be grumpy or lackadaisical due to sleep deprivation. I also probably wouldn’t do a whole lot more than running and would most likely end up napping during half of the races I wanted to watch online. Instead, I am left in this position of having to actually be diligent in the way I formulate my training plans.

What’s the most important aspect of those plans? Rest. Go ask an Olympian about the importance of their rest these next couple of weeks and they will probably tell you it is as much for the mental aspect as it is the physical. However, even when they get back into the full swing of training, they are going to put recovery at the top of their priorities.

Now, rest for an Olympian might mean a week with only two workouts and only about 85 miles for those seven days and it might mean you should opt for a 20 minute walk for the next three days instead of the 3 mile runs you were planning. The difference lies within the body, and they key to improving that body’s capabilities is knowing what it likes, what it doesn’t like, and what encourages it. You might not be sure if you are overtraining, anemic, or are feeling about what a hardworking person should feel like. But, if you become intentional about discovering how you physically react to the stimuli you throw at it, you will at least start to understand the basics. Once you know those basics, I am sure the details will fall into place.

If you want a little head start on how to best listen to your physical requirements, this article will help.  http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=26761&PageNum=1

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