Thursday, February 11, 2010
Rest and Recovery
Every day in my car, I climb a steep hill to drop my kids off at school. Before I used to run the same grueling hill for fun I loved the burn. Each time I rise on the hill in the car I think of the human body and how amazing it is and how I used to run it. My car breaks down a little every time it climbs that hill. It does not repair itself. The tires wear, the engine is strained. The human body, however, breaks down when climbing a hill like that and then it rebuilds itself to be better prepared the for the next time it climbs the hill. Its truly amazing how quickly it adapts. Weight loss, exercise, and conquering plateau, are all a game of adaption and we have to live by the rules that our body makes.
One vital ingredient to the bodies ability to adaption and rebuild its self is rest and recovery. I used to ignore that part of training and didn't consider it a part of training. I would run hard 8-10 miles a day 5 days a week with a longer run (12-20 miles) one day a week. I didn't do "easy" runs, I ran hard some days and harder on others. I ignored advice to recover. It took its toll and I was injured pretty badly. I have seen it again and again with some of the more competitive girls that I train with as well. We don't know when to rest. Two girls that I trained with ended up with stress fractures in their pelvic bones. FROM RUNNING! Shesh, I can't imagine how painful that must have been.
Resting after weight training is important. Whether it is switching up muscle groups or resting from the activity all together. Also alternating running days making most of the workouts easy with a few hard scattered in between seems to be better on the body.
My husband approached me one night and said we need to change our lifestyle so that we go to bed at 9:00. I drew the line and folded my arms tightly and said "Absolutely not!!!" With lots of little kids that was my sanity time, MY time to unwind. After nearly a year of him insisting and me resisting he asked me "What do you do after 9:00 pm?" I pondered that question. The answer was that I play on facebook, read the news, read health articles and putter around the house. Once in a while we would watch a movie. That made me see that I really didn't do anything of too much value in that time. I decided to give it a try and get up even earlier in the morning to accomplish more things. It has made a big difference in our lives. I feel like it has reduced stress and has established some great habits. Studies show also that people who exercise in the morning are also much more likely to adhere to an exercise program...an added bonus for the early morning. I believe however that the best time to exercise is the time that you can.