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Thursday, October 21, 2010


Am I allowed to post an entry on a running blog if I haven't run today?
I would say YES! because I think rest days are very important when you're training for a long distance race.

I hate following specific training plans. Sometimes I just don't feel like running and having my expected mileage written down makes me feel guilty about wanting to stay in bed or at home on my computer. Sometimes I don't feel up for a run (especially a long one) so I'll want to ride my bike instead or just do some easy Elliptical cardio. The master of rationalization that I am, I have come up with 3 reasons why cross-training (or resting) are great for running:

+ You'll strengthen your body by using other muscles, which will improve your overall training.
(I hear) this one especially applies to strength training. I don't do as much of this as I should, but I did have a brief love affair with weights last year. While I was working on my core, legs and arms, I found that my legs had more power and running felt easier. I hear that with a good core (I wouldn't know) your running form improves and this should prevent injuries by reducing impact force and bad foot landing (so overall technique).
This could also incorporate swimming. I know I find swimming difficult since I have tiny arms with little power to drag me through the water. However, the act of staying afloat develops your core and it's always nice to have toned arms :)

+ You'll prevent over-use injuries by giving your legs a break.
It's called ACTIVE RECOVERY. Think bikes, elliptical or swimming. While you're still working out, you are still getting the health (and weight loss) benefits without using the same exact muscles as when you run. There is still a lot of blood flow within your body and research has shown that this brings nutrients back to tired muscles and helps repair any damage if your last run was intense (ever experienced DOMS?)

+Take a mental break from running
As much as I love the biology of running, I do understand that it's a very mental sport. You have to WANT to run and LIKE to run to get out there enough to improve. I always find that taking a break from running makes me miss it a little and enjoy it more. I also think cross-training gives me an opportunity to enjoy something else other than running. I would have never realised that past the intensity of swimming there's a sense of calm and quiet beneath the surface (haha) that I just love. (Sometimes being injured can turn into a positive thing!) By venturing a step away from running, I've gotten a peek into the world of other races - triathlons, for example - that I may want to try in the future.

So... don't feel bad if you don't feel like running today. Try and get out for a walk, bike or swim and enjoy the day instead of worrying about it or feeling guilty.

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