When it’s sunny outside and there’s a run on my schedule, I can happily get out of bed at 6:00 am.
Today was not one of those days.
Birds were chirping. Sunbeams were streaming in through the windows. But I couldn’t do it. My body hurt from my other workouts this week. My eyes burned. I felt worn out and the day hadn’t even begun yet. I needed a rest.
While the next 90 minutes of snoozing were great, I had an overwhelming sense of guilt when I finally emerged from my bedroom. I had missed a 60 minute steady run in my training plan. And with an already-packed calendar, there’s no way I’ll make it up. I spent the rest of the morning punishing myself. My internal monologue was very mean. I’d let myself down.
Every wise runner I have ever met has said to “listen to your body.” Today my body said, “I’m tired and sore and you fed me pizza and wine for dinner last night and now I’m not interested in a morning jaunt along the canal.”
So why was I being so hard on myself? In any training plan, rest is just as important as the workouts after all.
Thankfully, it’s not just me. Runner’s guilt happens to many runners, especially when training for a big race. Often, a side-effect is overcompensating by making your next run harder or longer in an effort to make up for the missed run. Experts agree this is a bad move. Instead, just carry on with the next workout or run as planned. Resist the urge to make up for a lost run and remind yourself that you’re better off going into a race with fewer miles under your belt, than having over-trained and exhausted or injured yourself.
I’ll try to be a little bit nicer to myself going forward. After all, there’s nothing wrong with an extra rest day.