Why I believe in active rest days:
“Exercise guidelines from the American Heart Association and other groups recommend that, for health purposes, people accumulate 10,000 steps or more a day, the equivalent of about 30 minutes of walking or easy jogging. Few people do, however. Repeated studies of American adults have shown that a majority take fewer than 5,000 steps per day.” (Why It’s So Important to Keep Moving, Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, Feb. 29, 2012)
Not so long ago, I thought rest days were exactly that: lay around, watch TV, do nothing. But then, after reading Run Less Run Faster, I realized I could, and should (although they didn’t necessarily say this), exercise on my rest days. By rest, it means “rest” the running muscles. Not be a couch potato for a day. Besides it’s much easier to stay in a routine of something if you do it every day.
Exercise every day, even if one day it’s just a 30-minute walk or hike. Get up and move.
Read the rest of that article I excerpted above here.
END YOUR BACK PAIN
“Keeping Your Lower Back Pain-Free”: This story’s from the LA Times. It’s actually a fun little read, in addition to being important for those of us who have chronic disc issues. I often curse my back. I have to remember to engage my core when lifting or bending or I get reminded of the crippling pain I felt for throughout 2008-2009.
Basically, the story says to fix your disc problems, you have to work on your core. Get fit. Don’t sit as much. Surgery, in most situations, is a quick fix and won’t last. Get moving; strengthen your stomach and back. It’ll never go away completely, but you can get it under control.
I agree wholeheartedly with this article. It’s how I got better, and it’s what got me running and motivated me to get in shape. So, I guess, my back pain was a good thing.
TUESDAY’S TEMPO RUN
T Junior’s day care was closed Monday so I was not able to get my track workout done. I wanted to take him for a bike ride and then the park, but he complained that it was “too far to drive” and he just wanted to walk to the little park down the street. I felt bad dragging him on my bike ride, and just decided to do what he wanted to do. We had a lot of fun at the park on a sunny day — even though it was very cold (glad we didn’t ride the bike!). At dinner, he recapped the park for Mr. T: He was the captain of the pirate ship and I was…well, he couldn’t remember. But I was the first mate.
That evening, I felt I needed to get my sweat on, and I hit the treadmill for a computerized 300-calorie burn walk. DailyMile said I only burned 130, though. Oh well.
Normally, on Tuesday, I would’ve made up Monday’s track workout. But I didn’t get a full night’s sleep – I got maybe 4-1/2 hours, so I was extremely tired and grumpy. Mel (Tall Mom on the Run) wanted to run at lunch, but I was feeling exhausted. Fortunately, after whining to Chelsea (Will Run for Food), she reminded me that I’d run on a lot less sleep (Hood to Coast). I had some breakfast and felt better, but then found out Mel had to work through lunch! I decided I would still go, and I would do the tempo run (because it seemed more realistic given my sleep-deprived state) from last week that I missed due to illness (and because the one of the RLRF schedule for this week is too many miles to fit in my lunch hour).
I have not been listening to music on my runs. For some reason, I feel like I have to concentrate more on this plan. But on Tuesday, I took music. I actually think it helped some. I felt like I was able to stay in a rhythm a little bit easier when I hit my short tempo pace (8:13). RLRF called for a warm up, 3 miles at short tempo pace and a cool down. I was only able to do about a half-mile warm up and a half-mile cool down, plus the three tempo miles, because of my schedule.
Tempo results: 8:15, 8:14, 8:12
FAST IS FUN, BUT…
I’m ready for something different. I enjoy training and running at these faster paces, but Tuesday night, I was dreaming about trail running. When I went for my run on Saturday, even though I was on the same trail I run fairly regularly, I felt like I was noticing it for the first time. I was running hard, but I was enjoying the natural scenery. It was quiet except for the crunch, crunch of my Saucony’s on the gravel. Occasionally, I inhaled the scent of a newly broken evergreen tree (due to storms) and thought of Christmas.
There were other runners and walkers with and without dogs or kids every so often. And even though, I felt I had to bring my pepper spray, I still felt relatively safe. I thought about it in my pocket and how if I had to use it on the trail, it would more than likely be on some sort of wild animal, which made me think of that time I encountered the buck on the trail.
Anyway, my point is: trail running makes me feel more alive than road running. I want to do more of it. I’m not particularly interested right now in super long trail running – 5-10 miles is good. Maybe a half on the trails would be fun eventually.
On Sunday, my friend Zoe (Run, Zoe, Run) ran her first trail race, a 5-miler. I thought about the race all weekend, and was sad I had not signed up for it.
AFTER THE ST. PADDY’S DAY RUN
The 5K is coming up fast – only 2-1/2 weeks away now! I can’t wait for the training to be over. It’s been tough, and I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m ready to move on. That’s the beauty of not being a professional athlete. Don’t feel like running fast anymore? Fine! Change it up!
After the 5K, I don’t know what I’m going to do.
I’m scheduled to run the Rock N Roll Seattle half in June even though I have yet register. I’m toying with NOT training for it. Well, obviously, I will put in the mileage, etc., but not training for a speedy race. I just want to run and enjoy myself and not worry too much about pace.
I’m still trying to pick a tri. I’d like to do the same race as my friends who will be “tri-ing” this summer. Any recommendations?
In September, I will run the You Go Girl race. I can’t decide between the 10K or the half – I sort of love the half distance, so I may go for that. Also, I think I’m supposed to be organizing Team Will Run for Ice Cream this year, so I better get on that.
I think I will sign up for some trail running this spring and summer.
Anyone else want to run some trails with me?
I would love to run trails with you but I live in Spokane, Boo!! Trail running is so much fun and that’s why I want to run an ultra some day…in the very far future though. I like doing activity every day even is its just walking because when I don’t I feel so Blah! Great to know the research behind it. Great Post!
I so needed to read this tonight. I am dealing with a terrible disc problem and I am losing it. I finally see a back doc. next week. Did you run when this was happening to you? I ran just a little today and actually feel not to bad. I haven’t had a real run since the first week of January.
OMG, I have horrible lower back pains too and need to plank as much as I could and do some core exercises. Same reason why I got into running. Thanks for those links! I do believe in active rest days as well. After having a heck of a time with PF and my ITB the last month and a half, I figured out that it’s because I’ve been very inconsistent with my cross training. If I lived closer, I’d love to try trail running one day with you! Thinking of hitting the trails here once my PF and ITB are not bugging me as much.
I want to run more trails too! I love them so much but hate that I feel like I can’t run them alone. I definitely want to do a trail race of some sort sometime. Nice tempo miles too, way to get out there despite not getting enough sleep.
I’m running the St. Patty’s Day Dash (and I haven’t trained for it), and I’m also running the Rock and Roll (and am planning on training for it). See you out there!