Skipping a Run – Marathon Training Journal: Day 24
If you train consistently, skipping a run here and there can be a good thing. Today I did just that. It was necessary to address the hypocrisy I've been oozing lately.
Nearly through the fourth week of this training cycle and it's always a good time to assess my strengths and weaknesses. I'm always talking about how important rest, recovery (including adequate sleep) is for training, yet it's the one thing where I don't practice what I preach.
Trading a Run For Wine and Sleep
I've mentioned before, several times, that I feel sleep deprived. I really struggled through the whole day today. I felt fine doing an easy paced 10 mile run this morning. Feeling very mature, I lay my sweaty self on a yoga mat outside and was amused when I started sliding off of it. So I did it a few times, because I'm very grown up and take a mature approach to my cool down period. I could almost hear my mother's voice in my head: “Stop that right now. That's disgusting!”
Maybe it was, but it was funny.
I was feeling pretty darn good for a sleep deprived girl. All credit goes to the runner's high. I definitely get a good dose of that when I go running.
Rise Before You Fall
After my run, my energy levels didn't just go downhill; they crashed through the floor and lay there as dead for the rest of the day. I could barely keep my eyes open and everything felt like an effort. By early afternoon all I could think about was going to bed. I didn't want to do cross training. I didn't really feel like eating and I was getting slightly irrational. It also occurred to me that I need to re-evaluate my energy intake for the volume of training I'm doing.
While I'm a pretty tuned in intuitive eater, things tend to fall apart when I'm tired because hearing your body signals and interpreting them suddenly becomes something you have to think about. My mind is too tired to think.
As a precaution I got some rye crackers and topped them peanut butter, sunflower kernels and dried cranberries. I made coffee for an extra kick. Not surprising, it didn't help. There is no substitute for sleep.
I'm Skipping a Run Tonight
It's funny when you first start running or doing any new activity. Initially you have to ward off the excuses and make yourself go out. It happens less the more established you get in your routine. Get caught up in serious training that becomes part of your lifestyle and all of a sudden taking time off is harder than getting out the door!
This is an area where I've really come a long way in the last six months. Understanding the role of recovery in relation to enhancing performance and seeing training as a whole – not just running and workouts – has been a game changer for me. I don't think about whether I feel like going for a run. It's in my schedule and I just get up and go do it. Moods occasionally flit in and out and I don't entertain them.
The down side is missing some important signals your body is giving you. Being aware of this helps me keep a check on myself every week or so.
I'm skipping my run tonight.
Sleep Might Be Better Training Than a Run
My body won't perform without rest. It's not so much how much I run, but right now it's specifically about how little I rest. This is something most of us face, at least now and then. Life is busy. We have responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and others. We need to work (to pay for more running stuff and race entries).
I am responsible for my body. I'm taking time out. The only way to snatch back an extra hour or two is to attack the urgent things during the day, push the rest off until tomorrow and ditch the run.
We are so programmed to think we need to feel guilty if we don't do something. There is a time for that, but if you are exhausted, what good does it do to push through a mediocre performance that you don't enjoy just so you can check a box as complete? The only likely result is that tomorrow's workout will suck too. I'm not doing that and I don't feel bad about it. In fact, I feel quite pleased with myself that I've exercised the discipline to call time out today.
It's not quite 9 pm yet. I've had my wine. All I have to do is save this and go to bed. Tonight, I'm going to sleep. Tomorrow I'll run strong.