Monday, August 7, 2017

Rest, Recover and Regenerate

There is a saying.......

Well, that's exactly what I need to do.  I've said many times over the past years to others and to MYSELF how important rest days are to recover.  Did I always practice those rest days? NO .... I practiced them about 40% I'd say.  What I mean by that is after a big race I might take off 1-2 days, but never more than 4-5 days.  So now I'm having to start from scratch and it's HARD.  Sometimes writing things down help me focus so maybe this post will help me get back on track.

What is rest, recover & regenerate to an athlete?  Yep, let's talk about the 3 Rs.  I've talked about rest in some of my past blogs.  This past week someone told me that my blog really helped them which made me very happy.  I'm no expert and most of what I say is just my opinion or thoughts I gather from stuff I read. 

How much should a runner (athlete) rest?  Well, I believe that all depends on the individual.  Some say you should incorporate at least 1-2 rest days every week.  I was very busy last May through April this year basically.  I started last May with an 18 week training plan getting ready for Ironman 70.3 Augusta.  If you've trained for a TRI, you know what I'm talking about when I say it's hard to fit in all 3 activities (swim, bike, run) into a week training plan and have 1-2 rest days.  Monday was what I called my "rest" day.  But it wasn't actually a down day because I did a light swim on Mondays.  I was so concerned about the swim for the Ironman that I made myself swim 3X a week.  The only way I found time to do that and also get in my bike and run miles was by doing a light swim on Monday.  Maybe this hurt me, maybe it didn't.  Only God knows the true answer.  

Some people have said to me that I shouldn't have done so many races between September -  May.  I did 2 Ironman 70.3 (well one the swim was canceled so it was technically a 69.1), 3 marathons (which including dopey 48.6 challenge), 3 half marathons, 1 10K, 1 12K, 1 20K, 2 sprint TRIs and a couple of 5ks.  It was a very busy 8 months of races for me.... well maybe I should say 12 months which includes the training leading up to the races.  Would I do it again? YES, ABSOLUTELY!! I had a blast at all of the races.  What would I change?  REST DAYS!!!! 

There is also a saying that "you don't lose that much in taking a week or two off in running".   This is what I should have done after each big race.  But I didn't and now I'm paying for it.  I would take like 1-2 days off and then go right back into my training.  Yes, my brain played tricks on me telling me I had to get those training days in no matter what.  I remember after the Ironman and Dopey challenge that I was so sleepy for like a month.  My body needed rest and instead I kept pushing.  I was on a high.  I was accomplishing so much.  I earned the right to be called a marathon maniac, a double agent, an Ironman 70.3, and Dopey.  Kind of funny that "Dopey" is one word... because I was truly Dopey in every sense by not resting properly after each big race.  

Maybe God thought I needed to be knocked down a notch.  Maybe I was getting too big for my britches as some say. :>)  Which I don't think God acts out as a mean God.  He's a loving God, however he never promised us no heartache.  Read the book of Job and boy you'll get a real good sense of heartache.  Job lost everything, but he never turned from God.  I believe we learn from trouble times.  And believe me he's really teaching me how important those rest days are for my body.  

During proper rest your body recovers and your body regenerates.  It allows the athlete to recover, both physically and psychologically.  The body needs time to adapt to the stress associated with exercise, time to replenish muscle glycogen (energy stores) and time for the body tissue to repair.  So I encourage each of you to find those REST days and TAKE THEM.  And don't forget SLEEP.  Sleep is so very important for athletes.  This morning on the way to work the radio was talking about all the kids going back to school and how important it is for parents to get those kids in bed by 8:30 pm.  Kids do well with proper sleep and it also makes for a much happier & healthier mom when kids go to bed early so that the mom too can sleep.  Our body needs sleep so that we can perform our daily task without added stress of no sleep.   I might need to have a talk with my grand pup.  My daughter saying all of a sudden he's getting up 3X a night and with school starting back the teacher needs rest. :>) 

I've been off any type exercise program since the middle of May fighting Bursitis which was caused mainly from NOT RESTING PROPERLY.   At first I quit running &  biking and was only swimming.  The hip continued to hurt so doctor recommended stopping everything.  Finally after weeks of nothing the hip is better and the doctor has said I can start back slowly.  

Well .... let me just say this...... after weeks of sleeping in since I didn't have to be up at 4:30 or 5 am...I can BARELY get up!!! They say you can do something for 30 days and it becomes a new habit.  Well, after 60+ days... this sleeping in became a HABIT.   I use to never set an alarm.  My body was always awake.  And also probably due to my husband being gone going on 5 weeks now there was no noise to wake me.  He usually has TV turned on by 5:30 am watching news and drinking coffee.  It's been so QUIET at the house and my body has become accustom to sleeping in the mornings.  So I had to revert back to setting an alarm, which I haven't done in over 20+ years. ha  But so far that hasn't helped.  I hit that snooze like a crazy woman being taking off meds. :>)

 Hopefully my husband will be back later this week and that will help me get up in the mornings.  It's hard to sleep when he turns on that TV in the bedroom. hee hee

Let's not even talk about how hard the training is going.  It's SLOW.  I'm doing a jog / walk program and getting 4-5 miles feels like I've done 13 afterwards.  Saturday I did an easy 20 mile bike followed by an easy 2 mile jog/walk.  Then on Sunday I did an easy 4 miles mostly walking with my dog to loosen the muscles.  I was toast the rest of the day Sunday.  Almost feel asleep in church!  I could barely hold my eyes open the rest of the day.  Which I do think the grass mowing and weed eating also played a role in my tiredness.  Since my husband has been gone I've had to do it all... yard, house, etc.   I'm so READY for him to be home. :>) 


After the big races, I should have taken 2 weeks or maybe 3 weeks off between each one to recover.  After you're trained, you're ready.  No need to keep pushing your body to the limit.

I've been down before when I had my neck surgery and wasn't allowed to run for 12 weeks, so I know I can get back up.  It's just going to be HARD.

 But as with most things that are hard in life, we learn something and we grew from it.  Maybe it's just that we grew closer to the God.  Or maybe it's that plus something else.  I pray that you know that any time you are going through something hard, God is always there.  Seek him and you'll find peace.  

Yep... One step at a time and I'll be back, but hopefully this time I won't listen to my crazy brain saying I don't need rest. :>)  Don't be like me and not take those REST days!  I'm a work in progress.  Always learning.  

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