Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Honoring Rest

When your goal is to train for a sports event or simply to get back into shape, you learn that rest is just as important as exercise. The two go hand in hand; in order to build muscles we need to rest them between workouts. Olympic distance runner Kara Goucher advises in her book, Running for Women, to "Embrace the power of recovery. After a long race or workout, it's so important to back off for a few days. . . This downtime gives your body and mind a chance to repair and rejuvenate themselves, which will make you stronger. If total rest drives you nuts, cross-train with cycling, swimming, yoga or Pilates."

Also suggested by many coaches is to taper your long runs in the week or two prior to a big run event.The weekend prior to your half marathon, for example, is not going to be the weekend that you run 19, 20 or 21 K. It would more likely be about 12 K. Not everyone abides by this kind of schedule, but I do and it seems to prepare me nicely for a race (in that I feel I can run it steadily and finish strong, and perhaps even better my last time.)

In keeping with this excellent advice on rest and tapering, I have come up with my own customized list of a few things I probably should not do over the next 10 days or so leading up to the 30K Around the Bay Race. (Feel free to adapt this list for your own use if your muscles have been working hard for you lately):

  1. Lug a vacuum cleaner (arm strain, possible back strain if lifting involved).
  2. Unload the dishwasher (back strain).
  3. Take out garbage (arm and back strain).
  4. Clean guinea pig cages (arm and back strain).
  5. Go grocery shopping (too much walking, possible leg strain).
  6. Clean cat litter boxes (don't get me started).
  7. Clean floors (could accidentally slip and injure self).
  8. Lift laundry, wet or dry (again, poor arms & back)
  9. Lift certain pots & pans (no cast iron anyway!)
  10. Climb stairs (at least at my husband's office - too much like hill training!)

Ahhh, if only, right? Seriously though, I do love rest days and "tapering time." Shorter runs, walking, a bit of strength training, some yoga...it's practically a holiday! Until one of your running pals asks you on your last super-long training run before the tapering is supposed to start, "Are you going to do the marathon this May?" Ummmm.....

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