On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rest days: when are they okay, when are they slacking?

I find myself struggling with the idea of rest days. When I have a training schedule that I'm following, it's easy: I run when I'm supposed to, I rest when I'm supposed to. When I don't have that schedule in front of me, I find it way, way too easy to justify a rest day. I mean, I don't want to push it too hard too soon, do I? Risk injury, burn out, etc.

Trouble is, my normal state is somewhere between "sloth" and "snail." Left to my own devices, I can easily, easily think of many reasons why every day should be a rest day. Some of them are legitimate, most aren't. The biggest one, time, is ambiguous: of course I have the time in my day. I just don't always make the time. I can't easily go to the gym during lunch or anything like that, and by the time I often wake up, it's late enough that it would affect my day's productivity to go out and run. And yet, getting up earlier than usual is very, very hard when you don't have someone to meet and you're sleep starved.

I've called in a friend to craft me a training schedule, as that may be the only way I'll get out the door. Plus, tomorrow I'm setting the alarm for an hour earlier. Both today and yesterday I woke up moments before the alarm, which tells me that I'm getting enough sleep and am well rested. Waking up earlier will only help me to get to bed earlier.

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