Rest & Recovery

I’ve been running now for just a few weeks to train for an upcoming half marathon. It’s a really (really) short training schedule, but I’m doing it anyway. My training schedule looks something like this: Monday: run Tuesday: run Wednesday: don’t run Thursday: run Friday: run Saturday don’t run Sunday: run really far and start again the next week. So, I run most days, right, but there are two days built into every week for rest and recovery.

This is a classic way to train to build lots of miles run into a week all while allowing time for the body to repair, rebuild and strenghten muscle. It’s also necessary on a psychological level to take days off, so that you don’t overdo it, especially if you’ve never trained for a half marathon before or you’re not used to working out on a regular basis!

I long for these days brain knows that, “okay, I ran today and I’m going to run tomorrow, but I get to take the next day off, so why not work hard for these two days and just relax on my designated day off?” It works like a charm!

So, as I cross off each training run leading up to the half marathon, I feel really good about the work I’m doing…but mostly I’m looking at the day with the “0” on it, when I get to stay indoors where it’s warm and I can lounge on the couch all I want, because that’s what gets me through..physically and mentally. And, a few days ago, as I took out my big, red Sharpie out to cross off yet another run, I thought, “Why don’t I apply this type of regiman to my work schedule?!?” Seriously, lately, as much as I’ve tried, I hadn’t had a true full day off (without checking email, editing, posting to social media) until this past Sunday.

What does this do to us? I think it’s really similar to what is described when athletes overtrain…

These are symptoms associated with overtraining syndrome! But, doesn’t this so easily translate to how we feel as small business owners?! Okay, maybe not a “mild leg soreness”, but replace “a compulsive need to exercise” with “a compulsive need to work” and pretty much this list describes me right now! I know I’ve written about this before, and recently, but as I’ve been training to run this race, it’s become starkly clear just how important it is to me to truly stop for at least one day per week to not do ANYTHING work relate. NOTHING.

This allows my brain to rebuild and repair those areas I’ve been using non-stop.

“Recovery time allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. Symptoms of overtraining often occur from a lack of recovery time. Signs of overtraining include a feeling of general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and increased risk of injury, among others.” –this from on the entry about rest and recovery for exercise. But again, that last sentence just hits home for me! After a good few weeks of not taking a whole day off, I certainly have a “feeling of general malaise”!

This past Sunday, I forced myself to not check my email and I didn’t check Facebook or Twitter (I still allowed myself to check Instagram, because that’s fun for me) and what happened yesterday was a minor miracle. I had a good 25 things on my to-do list and guess what? I got each and every single thing on that list accomplished. That hasn’t happened for me since…I don’t even know when. A weight was lifted. I felt like I could keep going…and today that energy continues!

As any athlete will tell you, the compulsion that you begin to feel to train constantly can consume you if you’re not careful. The trick is to recognize what your brain is trying to do here. And then the next step is to write out a plan, get out your big, red Sharpie and cross the work days off, all the while letting yourself get excited about the days with a “0” on it. And, finally, I would argue, tell others what your schedule is, so that they can respect your need for a little rest and recovery.

Happy training, everyone!




Speak Your Mind