Hard, easy, Hard easy….its a pretty basic concept right? Well, yes in theory, but as runners we all know some days it just isn’t that simple.
This week was the peak week of my training plan. Peak week, or aka run a ton of miles in one week. Now let me clarify, my total weekly mileage for this training plan has been bearable, to those following me on Strava it might even seem like it isn’t very much mileage at all. When I say bearable it is because I am used to training for marathons and this is only a 25k race. However, there is one big thing to keep in mind. The miles may be shorter, but the runs are so much tougher. Running in varied terrain with elevation increase that average 500ft on a long run day wear down my body much quicker than running on the flat surface of the Chicago Lakefront path.
When I headed into this peak week, my focus was to hit the mileage, feel strong and push when I could. In other words…run hard. Overall those hard runs went pretty well, actually as I recap my runs I realized I probably can push even a little harder come race day; but that is only half the battle of the training week. I had two rest days scheduled and I knew it would be important to rest. In other words..rest easy.
I have come realize during this training cycle how important rest is for me. Sometimes I have chosen active recovery, like yoga or an easy hike other times I have rested by the pool soaking up the vitamin D. Some weeks I have even needed an extra day of rest. This is one of the things they don’t tell you about getting older as a runner. It really does take a lot longer to recovery from a hard workout. I’ll be honest, early in my training I thought if I got stronger during cross training sessions or ate a great weekly meal plan, that would be the key to a quicker recovery. What I have come to realize is that those things aid with recover, as do ice baths, foam rolling, but none of that is a replacement for rest.
I recently read a blog post by an Oiselle Pro runner Sasha Golish about the importance of rest days. She spoke on “Respect Rest”. As runners training for a key race, we focus so much on the hard runs, doing everything in our power to hit the marks and pacing times. Why don’t we also focus on executing our rest days with the same respect? I am the first one to admit on those rest days I need to focus more on foam rolling, stretching, hydrating, reading books and getting pedicures. It’s so much easier said than done, when as runners we just want to push a little harder or rest less. However, when we don’t respect the rest our body needs we are set up for injury, burnout or worse yet, running on tired legs that feel like lead. With a couple week’s left in this training cycle, this is going to be a big take away from take away for me. Make my hard days hard, and my rest days easy.
Training this week:
*I need new road running shoes. I have been so focused on my trail runs that I haven’t zoned in enough to my easy weekday runs. They haven’t been the greatest feeling the last few weeks and I have realized it is because of old shoes. It’s been a while since I went to the running store to source out new shoe options, but now is as good of time as any. Let me know if you have any recommendations for a neutral road shoe.
*If you haven’t done so already, check out my race discount page. As a Bib Rave Ambassador I have a ton of race discounts to share for races from all over the country.
*As you might recall I previously wrote that I was exploring tools and ways to be more present in running and life. I have spent the last couple of months incorporating this into my workouts and daily life. Later this week I will post a special blog recapping my experiences. Check back and share your thoughts.