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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.  Running_on_empty 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.   

100_year_old_woman 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.

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Comments

Ben

Amy, That picture of you in the middle of this post is very flattering. Was it taken recently? ;-)

Seriously, thanks for the good advice. When you are 118, I hope I'll be right there alongside you.

Lisa

I completely agree. I find that quality recovery almost trumps a quality workout on the same day I should be resting.

Everyone will get to a point when quality really is more important than quantity when it comes to running.

Heather

Amy - great post and great advice! I've been fighting a bit of a bug the last few days and have extremely low-energy. According to my training plan I was supposed to run long and hard yesterday. Instead, I took the night off. I felt so guilty, but reading this post made me realize that I shouldn't feel bad when I listen to my body. Thanks again.

Leah

Ah, yes. Rest and recovery are key workouts in our weeks. Or at least they should be. They are just as important as the days that say: run. In order to RUN well, we must REST and RECOVER well.

Leah

This is such a great topic! As a relatively new runner, I never thought twice about resting or recovery. My mindset (up until now) has always been longer & faster is better and "No pain-No gain". I will no longer feel guily about my slow & short runs; at least I'll *try* to.

Felice

Great post! I also hope to be running until I'm 118 -- maybe we'll go head-to-head for the 100+ age group in a few decades!

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