So the training plan I have been following for the last year or so has emphasised the idea of training consistently and regularly. There are 3 different possible levels of plan to choose from with level 3 even suggesting some double run days. This has been working really well for me as I have been running almost daily and the momentum and consistency that has come with that has allowed me to make real improvements.
However, the plan has two weeks where the training ramps up before lowering on a third week which often starts with a rest day to allow the body to recover a bit more from the intense training. On this rest day I often go for a massage to aid recovery but this is often followed by a bit of a challenging cycle up a hill home. These probably contradict each other a bit but needs must and I have become a big believer in active recovery.
Unfortunately this week’s recovery week didn’t quite go as planned. It started with a massage but the following day I knocked my knee and began real panic about the fact it might have been my old itb syndrome coming back to haunt me. I was cautious about how much training I should do in this state so I eased off a little bit. After a day or so I decided I could be risking further damage so I took a rest day.
Now I don’t mean the sort of rest day where I do a cycle to work or go for a recovery jog. I meant a rest day. It was the first day where I did no physical activity at all. I drove to work and when I got home I just chilled out. Felt weird but didn’t want to risk hurting the knee.
The next day I drove to work again with the plan of running for a session after work. As I walked around work in the morning I noticed a freshness to my legs. I was able to spring up the steps with a little more bounce. I also felt less tired for the first morning in a while as if the running is properly draining. However I know that the tiredness I feel from the running is a good feeling and that it means my body is getting stronger so I do not mind it.
The run that evening felt different to normal runs and I definitely felt better within my running technique and moved better. Ultimately this has shown me that I really benefited from the rest. I don’t want to have a rest day too often but it has got me thinking about the taper at the end of my plan and also the fact that each of my long runs are not going to be at race pace because of the training fatigue. But that is okay.
So, don’t be afraid of rest!
Now to get back to the running and continuing to build on the consistency and mileage!