The Fine Line: When to Run and When to Rest

When to Rest and when to Run

It seems that so many of my posts for the past few months have had one over-arching theme: coughing, joint pain, & sickness. Yikes! This is by no means what I intended when I first started this blog. I thought that I was invincible – I had gone for so many years with no sidelines from illness that I was beginning to think it was something I would never have to deal with. Haha, I sure learned my lesson!

I’m not sure what has come over me this year. It seems that ever since the beginning of October I have been battling on and off colds, coughing, and weird joint pain. It could be that I am working with 746 different kids under the age of 13 each week, but I thought that you were supposed to get sick during your first year of teaching, and have built up immunity for the following years to avoid it? I guess not. I also think that I may have gotten too confident and not made the best decision when I decided to play the student’s recorders to demonstrate how the music sounds. I think I finally have learned my lesson.

My excuse earlier this year was always that we had concerts coming up, so I couldn’t afford to take a day off from work. Since I wasn’t taking time off work, I tried to just power through, always continuing with my exercise and daily routines as usual. I think this dug me deeper and deeper in the hole, so each time I thought I was healthy again was actually just a time when the illness had temporarily subsided, but the virus or bacteria still lingered in my system.

Well, it’s time to swallow my pride and hunker down until I am really good to go again. I took a little time off of work this week when I felt truly miserable, and forced myself to fully commit to ‘being sick’. This idea seemed glorious at first – being forced to do nothing but sit on the couch and read or watch movies all day?! Wow, what a great reason to skip my run and miss work. This was my thinking for about the first 8 hours, until I started to go stir crazy and conjure up all the possibilities of losing my fitness, gaining a million pounds, or having to start from square one for my next run after missing two days. Jeesh.

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I think as runners we tend to dramatize the effects of missing just one run in our head. We stick to our training plans like they are our Bible, and feel like we are a failure if we have to cross one day off when we did not complete the exact scheduled workout. This has plagued me ever since I started running longer distance races! So much of my confidence and sense self worth is defined by being a runner, and I feel that when I am no longer fulfilling the ‘qualifications’ of being a runner I am no longer as successful. Sometimes we forget to realize that being a runner means listening to your body and taking time off when it is more beneficial than going for your scheduled run!

This week I completed a 30 minute spin workout on Monday, and since then I have not worked out whatsoever. That’s 3 missed runs and two missed strength workouts. My heart aches each time I cross off the scheduled workout for the day without putting an X through the box. They say it takes 10 days of missed training before you started to lose your current level of fitness, so I am banking on this. I figure that missing these workouts will put me in a better place to jump back in when my body is ready again, as opposed to just running through when I can only give the workouts a half of my normal effort.

I have never drank so much tea and water, spent so much time on the couch, slept so much, and blown my nose as much as I have these past 5 days. I feel much better today and am hoping to be able to start with short, easy workouts on Monday again. Sure, I’m nervous that there’s only 4 weeks until the next half marathon I am planning to run for a PR, but this must just be the universe testing my ability to adapt and readjust my plan according to the circumstance. After many tests this year, I think I am finally ready to ace this one.

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On a side note, did you know that you need to keep your mouth closed when you blow your nose?! I have been blowing my nose wrong and unsuccessfully my entire life. This was mind blowing when I realized it!

Hopefully your first week of spring was a successful and exciting one. The high school musical is this weekend – they are performing Seussical! I am playing my flute in the pit and I just love it. These kids are so impressive and talented.

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Here’s to an upcoming week of health and daily improvement 🙂

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