I am the worst injured person.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I sprained my foot while training for my fourth half marathon. I was told to rest and ice – which I thought was hilarious, considering I teach during the day and chase a 2-year-old at night. Rest. Ha!
But, to be honest, I was terrified. What was I supposed to do if I couldn’t run? We were right in the midst of the holiday season, too, and I had just found out I was pregnant. My last pregnancy had gone positively splendid (seriously; if you’re scared of pregnancy or labor, just talk to me, because I had the best experience ever), but part of that was due to me running up until the day before my daughter was born.
The problem with rest is that it involves not doing anything, and most of us like to be active. We like completing an exercise because we know we’re that much closer to achieving our goal, whether it is weight loss or logging a certain number of miles per week.
So what was I supposed to do if I couldn’t run?
Well, in my mind, anything but running and walking.
“What are you doing?” my husband asked one day as I pulled up my exercise Pinterest pins and got into my workout gear.
“A daily workout. It’s going to help stretch my muscles and keep me limber while I rest,” I said, searching for the kettlebell.
“But you’re not really resting,” he pointed out.
“This isn’t hurting my foot. I bet this is actually good for me!”
Told you. Worst injured person.
Rest means watching what we eat better – and I like to eat, especially at the holidays.
“Let me tell you everything we’re going to have,” my mom said the day before Thanksgiving. “I have a glazed ham, a turkey, sweet potatoes, dressing, a pumpkin pie, something called a decadent chocolate cake…”
Now, seriously. How am I supposed to choose between the traditional pumpkin pie and this so-called decadent chocolate cake (and it was decadent, it really was)?
Well… I just did. I do want to be healthy, and I did want to bounce back to running as easily as possible – and it would be a little harder if I packed on extra pounds because I couldn’t make a choice (plus, there’s always leftovers…).
Rest means making a recovery plan.
Before my foot strain, I was training for a half marathon. I would run about 14-15 miles during the week and was at 11 miles for my long weekend run.
After a three-week hiatus, though, I knew better than to start out running like that again. So I chose an easy two-mile, flat route with a couple of running friends. It nearly killed me. It probably didn’t help that I had a little sinus drainage, but I was huffing and puffing like I’d never run before that morning.
So I made a recovery plan. I knew it would be a little different, seeing as I’m no longer in training, but I still want to exercise well.
Rest means reevaluating your exercise routine.
I’ve mentioned before how I’m not good at cross-training and how, because of that, I’ve burned out of running. The three weeks off made me realize how much I still love running right now. I missed it terribly while injured. I missed watching my TV shows (which I only watch when I run as motivation to run on the treadmill), and I missed hanging out with my girlfriends on our morning runs. I missed the feel of sweat pouring down – I completely get the legendary “runner’s high,” because I feel it after every run.
I don’t necessarily like to exercise – or I didn’t think I did. But turns out, I really do.
Rest is generally no one’s favorite activity. But it often is essential. We need rest days during the week so our body can recover from training. We need rest so our minds can get excited to complete that next workout.
And sometimes – sometimes we need rest to heal.
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