Keep Your Life in Balance, Take a Rest Day!

“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” ~ Ralph Marston

No running for me this morning!!  I have to admit, it felt pretty good to take day off from running.  I  feel like I’ve been going non-stop in the last few weeks.  Between working, studying, writing this blog, waking up early and going to bed later than usual, and of course training for Boston (I’ve run over 220 miles so far in 2011) I find myself always rushing to the next thing that has to be done on my list feeling increasingly anxious and disconnected.  I am definitely overwhelmed and I need to find balance!

A Fun Day Fooling Around While Laying Down in the Grass at the Common

I personally find it challenging to avoid giving in to the temptation to rush.  I’ve always done everything at a fast pace, from eating to falling asleep.  My mom nicknamed me “Terremoto” that in Italian means Earthquake; the result of a sudden release of energy ~ wikipedia.   I love and  need to be busy and productive.  However, this morning I woke up feeling physically and mentally exhausted and I found myself yelling at our puppy Luna for going potty in the house when at the end if I didn’t rush her inside because I had things to do she would have gone outside!  It was definitely a wake up call for me,  it got me thinking.  “‘I need to slow down,’ I burst out!”  I don’t want my life to pass me by before I can really enjoy it.

Slowing down is not always easy to do, at least not for me.  That’s why I need to really make an extra effort in order for me to appreciate life more and at be happier.

Here’s how I am going to do it:

  1. Do less. Focus on what’s really important, what really must be done, and let go of the rest.
  2. Be in the moment. Focus on what’s going on right now, on people around me, on the environment, without thinking of all the things I need to do.
  3. Unplug Yourself. Turn off or mute my cellphone and don’t check e-mails once in awhile, especially if I want to focus on a project, in this way I will avoid interruptions.  Our friends and family don’t mind to wait for me!
  4. Eat slower. This is a hard one for me.  Enjoy and chew each bite, doing so I will appreciate the flavors and improve the digestion.
  5. Walk to work Slower.  Make it a peaceful time to notice my life, and the things I’m passing by.
  6. Single-Tasking. Focus on one thing at a time and when I feel I am about to switch to another project, pause and breathe.
  7. Breathe. When I feel I am stressing out, stop , and take a deep breath.  This morning hugging Dustin helped me stop and for that minute I was enjoying his warmth.  I took few deep breath and I felt the stress going out.  I think it helps bring us back to the present and slow down.

As far as running goes, try to pay close attention to what your body tells you.  Listen to yourself honestly.  If you’ve been fatigued for several days in a row, then you may need to schedule some rest and recovery time.   As much as I love starting my day with a good and piecful run, it’s important to rest up too.   Resting is a big part of training and keeping your body healthy.  Rest days allow our body to recover and get ready for the next run.

Running break down the muscles in our body,  we need to give the body time to rebuild these muscles back up again.  This will make the muscles stronger allowing us to improve.  If we do not rest enough, we will start to feel tired all the time and eventually you’ll get injured or ill.  Most people should have at least one rest day a week. Beginners need around two or three.  A common mistake to marathon training is not planning sufficient rest.  Many runners train to hard when they should be recovering from training. If we  train too hard without recovering from it,  we won’t give the chance to our body to adapt to the stress and function more efficiently not allowing us to have a good quality training later.

Take a rest, relax, love, laugh and enjoy your life, you’ll come back re-energized!

Here you can find the number of recovery (easy workout)days recommended following different workout efforts. A typical training week utilize 3 hard workouts alternated with 4 recovery days.

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