And it’s how to take it easy.
I have a go hard or go home mentality and I fell into the trap of thinking a workout that doesn’t make you sweat, doesn’t make you hurt, doesn’t take a significant amount of time, can’t be really good for anything.
I struggled through the taper before the marathon trying to keep my fitness up but not push myself and add any fatigue, in fact to be as rested up as possible, and I don’t think I did a great job. Furthermore, anytime I’ve had to recover or take a deload week I’ve struggled and I ended up doing what seemed like too little, resulting in difficulty coming back.
So after the marathon, the recovery week that I’m actively in, I knew some workouts would be good and some bad and blah blah blah and rather than program for myself (or especially wing it day by day) I looked at Krissy Moehls recovery week plan since I’m reading her book Running Your First Ultra.
And the glory of it is it’s simple. It’s lighter workouts than I would ever normally do but I’m not nervous that I’m doing too little because I’m listening to someone much more experienced than myself. That’s the benefit of someone else’s plan, being okay going not-hard, and knowing how not-hard to go.
Anyone can go hard, really. Some people are way too easy on themselves but mostly in our community the problem is everyone wants to go level 10 most of the time. Get to that feeling where you must have done something.
So it’s nice to run 3 easy miles and say okay, I took my prescription and I can stop.
Today’s a rest day again then tomorrow is 5 steady miles or an hour of cardio, in my case the elliptical, then Saturday is listed as 5-8 miles and I’m back to normal.
Now of course there’s a danger in following a program too and it’s worth saying because we have a fresh example in Jon. Let me quote him as loosely and sarcastically as I can.
Jon: Hmm, my knee hurts but the plan says 16k so 16k it is. Oh, now my knee really hurts and it’s doctor time and I’m not running the race and in fact not running again for a year, wish I’d stopped during the 16k.
But again I benefited from having a plan after the race because I had a lot of aches and pains that I feared could be injuries and wouldn’t have ran but Krissy wrote that the easy miles were mostly a test to see what’s up and that really helped. During the easy run I mentally kept an eye on all the hot spots and felt them clear up or flame up and I know better now what to stretch out and watch for.
So it’s not a matter of listen-to-the-plan or listen-to-the-body, it’s a matter of planning to listen to your body.