Guilt-Free Time Off

After patting myself on the back for getting out and running when I didn’t feel like it on Tuesday and Wednesday, I took yesterday off from running and I don’t regret it for a second.

On Wednesday I reported that my right calf felt funky, and it continued to feel funky Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, so I made the executive decision not to run. Then later in the day I waffled a bit and thought hey, maybe I should run, or maybe I can just walk on the treadmill, it’s probably just normal muscular pain. Then I thought about it longer and decided I didn’t waste $30 on a race I’m not even training for so that I could injure myself pushing it too hard on a boring slow training run. I meant to do my pushups and situps since my core really needs work, but then I didn’t. I stayed at work later than I planned, and then I went to see Soul Asylum at the Sports Garden, so I didn’t do my strength stuff. Unless rocking out counts as a workout. It probably does, although there was no moshing.

My calf feels fine today, so I feel justified in taking the day off. I guess whether it felt fine or whether I was unable to walk, I would have felt justified in taking the day off.

I am not one of those runners who spends hours analyzing their aches and pains to determine if they are larger issues. I am also not one of those runners who talks in acronyms and pseudo-medicalspeak. The minute someone wonders if their dx is an sfx or ITBS, I just tune out. I am not a doctor of sports medicine or a physical therapist, so I have nothing to contribute to the conversation, and I try not to turn to Dr. Google for a diagnosis. I gauge whether or not I should rest an injury or run based on a couple non-scientific criteria:

1. Is the pain symmetric?
If both legs/hips/arms/sides hurt, or if my entire lower back is stiff/sore, or both feet are achy, I’m not too concerned. Since only one leg felt weird the other day, I was more concerned.

2. Does the pain go away or lessen significantly overnight?
So far I’ve been recovering fairly well from my long or more intense runs, but I am a bit stiff and creaky in the evenings, or sometimes even the next morning until I really get moving for the day. Because my leg felt similar yesterday afternoon to the way it felt Tuesday evening, I didn’t push it.

Obviously there’s more to injury prevention than a two-question assessment, but I hope it will help prevent overuse injuries, at the very least. Today is gorgeous and I fully intend on doing 5 miles after I go pick up my race packet for this 5K tomorrow. Which, eep, why did I sign up for this again? I am not sure.

Off Day

Yesterday was an unexpected day off from running. I am somewhat annoyed about it because it was another nice day, and because I want to run outside any time I can, and I cannot during the week. I woke up with a sore back and hips. My back is fine, it’s just kind of stiff, it’s definitely plain old muscular soreness and not something worse. My hips are just a little worn out, I think, but I’m concerned they feel like the Tin Man’s before Dorothy found the oil can, and I decided a break would be a good idea, even though I just had a rest day on Friday.

I felt a bit guilty about sitting on my couch watching Gilmore Girls during the time I planned for running, but after creaking around the rest of the day at a UMD hockey game and running errands, it turned out to be a good idea. This was confirmed once I started feeling chilled and overall achy in the evening. Since I sometimes write posts in the evening and schedule them for the next day (a shocking revelation, I know!), I could have come down with a full-blown case of influenza by the time you get around to reading this. Or, I’ve successfully given my body the extra bit of rest it needed to fight off whatever crap was trying to take over. With school starting this week, I’m not taking any chances.

With my level of fitness, spotty track record with commitment to running, and overall bent toward laziness, rest days worry me. Since I don’t plan them, instead choosing them based on either my schedule for the day, how I feel on a particular day, or how long it’s been since my last rest day, one rest day can very easily turn into two… or three… weeks. Or more. I hope my two-pronged formula for success this way around will work. This plan is, obviously, 1. Run at an aerobic pace so I’m not killing myself with every run and 2. Write about running publicly (while not doing anything to actively promote this writing), so that I’m forced to keep going in order to have something to write about.

I really hope I am not sick. It would not be the best way to begin spring semester.