Rest Days

Yeah, thanks mate, I know I LOOK tired. I AM tired. To be honest, no one really wants to be told they look tired do they? Even if it’s coming from a place of total love and concern. Because when you tell someone they look tired, what they hear is: “you look like sh*t love. Sort it out. At least put a bit of mascara on.” Which I know was not what was meant. And it’s possible that I have a tendency to only hear criticism. A little bit. Plus, I could probably fit all the layers I take to cross country in the eye bags I was sporting. And I take half my wardrobe with me to cross country.

Because I AM tired. And I’m only in my first week of marathon training for Manchester. I shouldn’t feel this bloody tired all the time should I? Why am I so tired? Why can’t I just make myself go to bed earlier and stop binge watching Arrow – even though I know it’s sh*t – and playing online scrabble? Do I need to get more iron in my diet? (I don’t. I’ve made up for being vegetarian for 27 years by eating almost still moo-ing cow meat as often as I possibly can. As well getting weirdly addicted to putting spinach and turmeric  in EVERYTHING, resulting in smoothies that look REALLY bad, like I whacked Kermit and stuck him in a blender with some almond milk and protein powder, and all my pans being yellow). DSC_3960

But then a (running muggle) mate said I looked tired and asked me what I’d been up to (this was on Saturday) and my reply went thus: “Well I had track on Tuesday, cycled there and back; then ran to Garden Cafe Runners and did the rest of the run with them on Wednesday; Thursday night I did a weights session at the gym; on Friday I went swimming (on my own! First time EVER! More on this later) because I’m supposed to be practising my front crawl technique in between my lessons and never got round to it, so that was REALLY tiring, and then I cycled into town and back (about 5 miles each way) to meet K for lunch; then me and Evie did parkrun this morning and tomorrow I’m doing my first real marathon training long run but it’s “only” a ten miler…. ”

WOAH WOAH WOAH, NO WONDER I’M F*CKING TIRED. What a knob!

So in between raising my kids, a part time job, trying to set up my own business (more on this later too), being a running coach for Headington Road Runners, and a run leader for the Garden Café Runners, plus my own marathon training, that sometimes fits in with the runs I help lead/coach, but sometimes doesn’t, meaning I have extra running to do – I’ve also decided to have swimming lessons and sign up for my first triathlon this year… And then I feel guilty because I’m not doing Yoganuary (or Veganuary, or in fact Dry January, because f*ck that). That’s going to take more than a bit of spinach, a steak and an early night to counteract. Somewhere in between all of these commitments, I’d occasionally like to have a longer conversation with my husband than “I’ve made spag bol, Evie had a nosebleed at school, Joe fired a unicorn ball at the cat (don’t ask) and they both need a bath. Did you buy bleach? Never mind I have to go, see you later” And then it IS later and I’m flaked out on the sofa post run, unable to summon the energy to go to bed, and he’s playing some scary looking zombie thing on the PS4 (rather than interact with the scary looking zombie thing on the sofa that is his wife).

The upshot of this is that today, I was supposed to be going for ‘Runch’. And when the friend who normally leads it asked if I could cover because he couldn’t make it, I actually said (gasp!): “Nope. I’m going to have a total rest day. I’m not going to run today.” If I had, I would actually have been running 9 days out of 10, AND on 2 of those running days I was also swimming, and then my general cycling to get around as well). I decided I needed the day off. I didn’t even cycle over to the café to meet my friend for a coffee. I got in the CAR – unheard of if I can help it for short journeys. But today? F*CK THE ENVIRONMENT!… We did take her dog (who I maintain is ACTUALLY an Ewok) for a walk when I got there, but my spangly new Garmin shouts at me if I sit still for too long, and then I shout back at it, and people give me odd looks, so that was fine. Avoided that embarrassment in public. And the kids are used to me yelling “I just did a 10mile run, SHADDAP!” at it.

I know some people love RED (Run Every Day) and it works for them – it doesn’t for me. I’m not a streaker. Well there was that one time on Manly Beach in Sydney… but I think that’s a different kind of streaking and I’m not 23 any more, and really that kind of thing is frowned upon in your mid 40’s. I did try RED January last year and I just exhausted myself and then felt guilty when I stopped. I didn’t find running every day compatible with marathon training because I needed the rest days after hard session. Maybe it works better if you’re ONLY doing that one mile every day, not doing your regular runs and then trying to put in another mile on what were formerly your rest days. I also, if I’m honest, don’t see the point. I could NOT be arsed to get all my kit on for one mile just to keep a run streak going. I feel like I spend 80% of my time doing laundry as it is…

However, I totally get the reasons why some people love to run every day, and that the momentum keeps them going. I have good friends who do it (who will probably utterly disagree with me on this now) but my ethos has always been to do quality sessions and then get some quality rest in between. Somewhere in the last couple of months though, the rest bit of my ethos still managed to  get a bit lost, and I felt like I had to be doing something ALL the time.  But right now, I’m having a great time snuggling down with the cats, not doing ANYthing between school runs more taxing than writing this and baking a recipe from Runners World that smells freaking amazing (gluten free banana and blueberry bread). I hate the term self-care, but that is what I am doing. And I hereby vow to have at least one PROPER rest day a week.

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