This week was overall pretty great, though I did have to make some adjustments to my planned workouts. I took a rest day on Sunday, and went for a little walk with the boys, and I was feeling great for the first half of the week. I had planned to take a rest day on Wednesday, since I knew a couple of girlfriends would be visiting over the weekend. And then Thursday I woke up feeling not good. My nausea returned, I was really tired, and overall I just felt like crap. So I took an unplanned rest day.
A couple of years ago, I would have forced myself to “stay on track.” If I wasn’t clinically sick, I did not deviate from my plans. It helped me to feel like I was in control in the moment, but I realized that it also made me feel completely run down and burnt out more often than not. In the last couple of years, I’ve learned that listening to my instincts and allowing occasional unplanned rest days actually helped me to stay on track more consistently. I’ve got a few recommendations for making unplanned adjustments, especially if you are someone who, like me, struggles with being flexible.
Thankfully, I was feeling great once Friday rolled around, and two of my girlfriends from Corpus came up for a one night visit. We made plans to hit the trails for a couple of miles Saturday morning, and spent a few hours catching up. Saturday morning, we went out and did a couple of warm up miles on the greenway, before I took them out to run on some fun jeep road trails. It felt so good to be back on the trails, even if I did have to take things extra slow. I wrapped things up around 6 miles so that I could meet my husband at Enrique’s baseball game, and they got in 9 more training miles.
I was almost literally blown away by how windy it was at the baseball fields. We all reconvened after the game, and had some brunch at Lupe Tortilla before they went back down south. It was a short visit, but so much fun. I was in desperate need of a nap immediately after brunch (I blame the mix of bottomless chips and salsa/queso and the early miles). I went straight for the couch as soon as I got home, and that was THE NAP. I felt so good when I woke up that the boys and I decided to check out the new land bridge and skywalk that just opened up on the west side of town.
It was a really cool, short walk. About half a mile each way, and the views were pretty incredible. I definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever in San Antonio. We stopped for some ice cream on the way home, and had a very early bedtime Saturday evening. This weekend was so much fun, and I am really loving the fact that I finally feel good enough to do fun things again. I may have to schedule in a few extra naps and I’m moving a little slower than usual, but I’m not trapped in my bed, or connected to a rehydration IV. And those are things worth celebrating!
Taking Unplanned Rest Days
- Do Listen to Your Body – Your body doesn’t follow a training schedule, and all sorts of unplanned things impact it. Things like allergies, work stress, multiple nights of bad sleep, and over indulging on chips and salsa. These are things that can’t be factored into a training plan, but are included in real life. Recognize there’s an importance balance between pushing your boundaries, and listening to it’s needs.
- Do Check Your Plan – If you can move some things around on your calendar so that your scheduled work out fits somewhere else, great. But if you’re at the end of your week, or your schedule is already packed, just move on. There’s no real point in cramming two workouts into one day, since consistency is what really counts. If you can find a convenient place for the missed workout to go, stick it there. If not, just move on.
- Do Actually Rest – If you need a mental health day that consists of cleaning your home while you listen to 90s music, awesome. But if you need an unplanned rest day because your body is worn out, don’t go about filling that day with things like mowing the yard, building that new she-shed, or (God forbid) painting a wall of your home. Those things are not truly restful. Take a nap, drink lots of water, get some stretching done. There’s wisdom in remembering that you *don’t* have to be busy all the time. It’s wisdom that’s hard for type-A people like to me to accept sometimes, but wisdom none the less.
- Don’t Push Extra Hard Tomorrow – For two reasons. One – you can’t “make up” for a missed workout by making a different workout harder. Two – Your body just told you it needed some extra rest. If you try to punish it by pushing harder tomorrow, you’re more likely to find yourself in a fun pattern of needing another unplanned rest day in the near future.
- Don’t Restrict Calories – We’ve all learned that we don’t need to earn our food by this point, right? Also, if you’re body is needing an extra rest day, there’s a good chance it needs some extra recovery. Guess what helps your body recover efficiently? You learning how to ignore diet culture and fuel appropriately! Restricting calories is just another way you can unintentionally cause your body to need more rest, or reduce training improvements.
- Don’t Feel Guilty – This rule applies to almost everything in life. Eating a few Oreo’s after dinner, cancelling plans to spend some time alone, making cereal instead of oatmeal for your kids breakfast. The world is challenging, and prioritizing your physical and mental health isn’t easy. If you generally follow your training plans 80-90% of the time, there is absolutely nothing to stress about.
This Weeks Workouts
Total Miles: 16 Miles
Total Workouts: 3
How the Run Felt
I’m really happy to say that my runs are starting to feel more like…..running. Rather than a slow clomping. My stamina is still pretty sad. I’m surprised that endurance is feeling so hard right now, but I probably shouldn’t be. Every time I’ve taken a running break, I feel like my endurance one day just returns. It doesn’t seem like a slow build, but more like on day 5 my body remembers that it can go for a long time. I definitely haven’t felt that shift, and I probably should be prepared for the reality that I might not feel it until some time closer to a year from now. I plan to keep building as long as things still feel good, but I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t build a whole lot.
Saturday, however, was an absolute dream. Finally getting my feet onto some dirt, and pushing up climbs felt so good. I made sure to be more cautious than usual, and walked a lot more than I ever have, especially on the downhill sections. I’ve been really hesitant to get back on the trails, and I know there are some that are just not a good idea for me right now. San Antonio has a lot of rocky/rooty trails that my toes just love to catch, and face planting down a hill while pregnant is a good way to give your husband a heart attack. So, I am enjoying any and every opportunity to get on dirt that I feel confident won’t cause me to crash. But I can’t wait for the day I can get back to Freidrich and power line runs every week.
How the WODs Felt
This week was much more challenging than last week at CrossFit. The weights weren’t that much heavier, but the workouts were all fairly long and cardio based. With my endurance being around 40% of what I would say is my normal, I drove the struggle bus for most of the weeks. I did finally get some solid lifting with my back squat and power clean, which I felt pretty happy about. I was hoping to get in for a fourth workout this week, but I can’t really complain about taking an extra rest day when my body needs it now. And it definitely was not in the mood to move on Thursday.
What I’ve Been Listening To
I started listening to OC Swingers, which is a terrifying story about a couple that allegedly used their good looks and charisma to commit serial date rapes. The man involved had a brief stint in reality tv, and it sounds like he got away with a lot because he was in a position of power as an attractive doctor. I also listened to a few episodes of Trust Me, and I just have to say that it’s so interesting to hear how easily power can be used to manipulate people in so many different ways. It definitely has a way of making you question things and try to think more critically.
What Went Well
Getting back on the trails, even just for a few miles was the absolute best.
What Went Shitty
I was not thrilled about a brief return of nausea, but I was happy that it’s reappearance was brief.
Plans to Improve Next Week
Keep adding a little bit of distance and time on my feet.
2 thoughts on “Unplanned Rest Days”
Thanks for this post! It really resonated with me. I feel like we as runners often have a bit of a masochistic streak that feels guilty if we don’t feel crushed by our workouts or if we don’t hit our weekly mileage goals. It can really help to take a step back and realize that we can just have fun with the sport and enjoy it. I just took a week off running before I took the MCAT exam because I was under a lot of pressure and needed the time off, and your post was just what the doctor ordered to validate my decision
Congrats on taking such a huge step! Hope the exam treated you nicely and you enjoyed a little more time to focus!