The Doctor Says You Can Run Again. Now What? Part 3
Part 3: If You Need a Rest Day, Take It
A couple of days ago, my husband had minor surgery and came home the same day. (He’s fine.) I was prepared to take over his household chores—changing the cats’ litter box, making the bed, and so on—but what happened this morning was completely unexpected.
Last night I felt really, really tired. Finally it dawned on me that all the stress over my husband’s surgery had caught up with me. In some ways, taking care of someone who’s had surgery is harder than getting it myself!
I looked forward to a good walk-run this morning, sure that it would un-fog my brain. As usual, I put out my running clothes so I could jump into them, then set the alarm, and fell asleep after reading the same paragraph ten times. (Sometimes I just can’t take a hint.)
Well! This morning, the alarm went off, but I couldn’t get out of bed for 20 minutes or so. Eventually I staggered up, fed our three cats, and did the rest of my morning chores. I’m a morning person, so I usually get up looking forward to hearing the first birds singing at sunrise. But today, I couldn’t wait to get back to sleep. I crawled back to bed and slept for another two hours. My day started really late (for me), but I’m glad I slept in.
As I write this it’s shortly after noon with a predicted high of 90 degrees F and an air-quality alert, and we’re already there, so I don’t plan to run today.
In the end, I just couldn’t get it together. Most of the time, if I don’t get some kind of exercise early in the morning, I’m cranky for the rest of the day. But not today.
I simply had to take a Rest Day. It’s taken me a very long time to learn not to beat myself up for missing one day of running. Sometimes real life gets in the way. In the past two days, that’s meant unexpected stress and physical and mental exhaustion.
Even if my spirit is willing to run, I have to pay attention to what my body is telling me. As with many of you, it’s a point of pride that I can run through steaming heat, pouring rain, or cold, but sometimes we’re all entitled to a day of rest. I was better off getting a couple more hours of sleep than dragging myself through what would have been a very unpleasant outing. That pretty much would have killed any joy I might get out of it—and my goal in running is to find the joy in whatever form it takes on any given day.
Has anyone out there had similar experiences? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts.
Meanwhile, happy running!
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