Rest and Recovery for a Reformed Runner
Funny thing. If you would have asked me to talk about "rest and recovery" a couple years ago, my response would have been a world of difference compared to my current mindset. Not that many years ago, rest/recovery was an evil thing I pretended to squeeze in - but did so half heartedly - more to satisfy my family schedule (by talking a day off) versus thinking about how rest/recovery could benefit my running. Or I did it when I was finally so darn tired I knew I couldn't physically do whatever it was I needed to do. I was driven to run to train for races and compete with myself. And I liked it. And I am so glad I did it.
But time, aging, and a few more years of running brings perspective. In my current space, I see rest and recovery as an important part of my running. Instead of running and training for the next race, I find myself with a new attitude.
I run. I rest and recovery. I repeat. And I do so in order to make sure I can still run well when I am a half a century old. And then again when I am 75 and hopefully, God willing, when I hit the big 100. I am no longer planning my running solely on the basis of upcoming races this year.
I rest and recover in order to keep running until I am 118. I will rest and recover to make sure I am capable of running a marathon when my kids find the joy of running that far. That's my plan.
For me this means more spontaneous runs and rest/recoveries. I change my training plan more freely. I have learned to adapt my plans based on my body is telling me instead of just the chart on the wall. I have found that learning to listen to my body is a much better barometer than only listening to the I plan laid out months prior. Sometimes it means I run shorter, or slower, or switch out running for another activity. Sometimes it means I take a break. If I listen close enough, my body knows what to do and what it can take.
It took me 13 years of running, but finally all those lessons I learned the hard way are sinking in.