Take a break.
I’ve blogged about this before, but apparently it’s something that we need to hear. Or maybe it’s just something that I need to hear. Over and over again.
I’ve learned that in running, I have to take breaks. Training takes a toll both mentally and physically, so backing off is imperative if you want to be a life-long runner. And I want like hell to be a life-long runner.
So I schedule breaks of all kinds: weekly, monthly, yearly. Sundays are always my rest days. I know that I need one day a week to recoup. But within a training schedule I give myself easy days in addition to days off. Weekly.
After months of training, I schedule easy months. This gives me time to reset, to rest my legs and brain and get a few other things done.
I also schedule easy years. I train for a marathon every other year. I don’t miss training days and can become very focused while training for a marathon, so I know that I need some years where I’m just running for fun. While I love training, it can also be exhausting, and I want to make sure that running doesn’t become a chore. I love running, and I want to continue to love running.
Right now I’m training for a 10k, which I don’t normally do. I train for marathons, and when I’m not, I’m just running for fun. Training has been going well, but I was feeling pretty run-down at the beginning of the week. I pushed through a couple of runs anyway, but on Wednesday I decided to take a day off.
I hate skipping runs. Resting on scheduled rest days are fine. But skipping a scheduled run during training eats away at me. It leaves a stickerless hole in my lovely calendar, and I really hate that.
It was the right decision. My legs were feeling heavy and I took the day off. And I ran better the next day.
I took the day off writing too, and that was the right choice. I made hard decisions on my day off, but they were the right decisions, and my story will be better for it.
Just like running, just like anything, in order to continue to do the things you love to do, you have to take breaks, refresh yourself, and come back stronger.
I take breaks after a draft and after revisions, but I hate taking breaks when I’m in the middle of something. Like running, it makes me feel like a quitter, and I am not a quitter.
But I’ve got to keep telling myself that taking time away is not quitting. It’s just refueling. It’s just refreshing. It’s just necessary.