Here we are again!
Come on in, grab a cushion, sit down and breathe...
Time to relax and time to share what has been going on!
The weather here in the UK, is hotting up again this week, for a short time anyway! So....if anyone feels like I do, it is time for a rest.
There have been a fair few posts this last week with a few questions being asked, a few niggly pains causing grief and a few folk having to ease back a tad. Thank goodness I am on the right side of my last setback, and I did actually manage to get out for a walk/ run... not far, not fast....but so welcome
There have been a few more folk appearing this week too. A few! A heck of a lot of folk...! Lots of new runners and a fair few returning after a while away.
Since we are here, since we are relaxing... that is what I want to ramble about, rest and relaxation I know that this has been touched on before, but maybe we need a reminder?
We all come to this forum and we all know we are going to be taking part in a plan. We read the pinned post, telling us how to do it, ( I hope), and we all know where we are going, It is there... on our apps and here in black and white.
We read the plan. We see what runs are coming, in what week, and then we notice the word REST.
REST... in a running programme?
How on earth, if I am to try to do this in nine weeks, am I going to have time to REST! Why do I want to REST? I want to get to that podium... !
Well...the answer is very simple.
NOT running, is just as important as running. As the C25K programme shows, at least ONE REST day between runs is essential.
Rest days help to strengthen your body, focus your mind and also boost your motivation.
Our muscles need a breather too...
When we run, we create microscopic tears in our muscle fibres ,, depending on how hard we have worked in the running, ( or any exercise), our muscles need a minimum of 36 to 48 hours to repair. If we ignore this, our poor running body has no chance to rebuild and strengthen muscles; they just continue to break down,,,. And we all know what that means. Trouble.
Our REST days are not just important to prevent injury... they are also, just as important mentally... stress relief , if you like A breather for our mind as well as our body.
For me, and for many of us, running acts as a stress reliever, a time for ourselves, a time to lose the worries and problems of our lives, maybe.
BUT.. and I learned this to my cost, October 2020.... every single time we put on our running shoes and head out...our body reacts with an increase in level of the stress hormone, Cortisol.
Well think of it as the flight or fight bit... your body does not know why you are doing this.. are your running from a bear or running because it is enjoyable.
Increased cortisol levels can have all sorts of nasty repercussions, like not sleeping, mood swings, eating issues and higher stress and anxiety,,, scary eh? In my case it gave me.. a healthy active person, great healthy eating regime, perfect weight and build.. a Pre Diabetes diagnosis,...yup!
I was running too much, too hard, for the wrong reasons, overthinking everything and not taking any time to be kind to myself. Lessons learned...the hard way, I am still building back!
So...if we are unkind to our body, it is really over-protective and it fights back...enough, is enough, When that happens, it can be a very, very long road back, I know this !
So after the dire warnings...what do we do?
Well, on the C25K plan, we take those essential REST days, without fail and IF we feel we need an extra one or two REST days, then we take them. Our body is saying, I need a bit longer to recover... and NO, you will not lose ground by doing that.
On some of our REST days, we may do some low impact exercise, just to keep everything moving,
Swimming, aqua jogging and walking,,, a great way to get the fresh air and just take it all in. Simple everyday tasks, housework, a spot of gardening, normal activities.
If you are repeating C25K or a more experienced runner... then you could take a little longer off, as a REST period... a few days of much lighter activity and a few more days where you do a little more strength and stamina work with much shorter runs?
Finding the balance seems to be the key here. REST is necessary... REST can take many forms... and REST means recovery.
Last, but not least, on some of your REST days... just REST.
Yesterday, apart from my squats, done whilst cleaning my teeth, first thing, I spent a long time just sitting in the garden, in the shade, listening to the birds, watching the insects and breathing gently. I know that I benefited from that.
I know that I felt better for it, today...
So... when it is your REST day, find the comfiest place for you.... plump up the cushions... get a good book... play a game on your phone.... meditate, take a nap, anything that means that you just chill and relax for a while. There is nothing wrong with just sitting. There is nothing wrong with RESTING.
So, here you are, resting. Shoes off, sitting back and resting.. I'll pour us a cold drink and while I'm doing that, you tell us how it is all going for you, we can't wait to hear !