When Both Mind and Body Protests

This week my mind and body are holding a protest. It’s week 3 of 50K training and they are not happy.

It’s to be expected. I haven’t worked out this hard since . . . well, ever. Even training for Boston I didn’t do any core, strength, yoga, or track work. I focused on hills, tempo runs, and mileage only.

Monday was my rest day. I take my rest days seriously and did nothing athletic the entire day, not even yoga. I really do feel strongly that I need at least one full day off to give my body a chance to rest and regenerate.

I’ve always read that rest days are necessary to allow the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to repair themselves, and therefore get stronger. I’ve seen many running friends get injured because they pushed too hard with the mileage and didn’t take enough days off.

I was grumpy all day on my rest day and felt tired, even though I got plenty of sleep the night before.

Part of this could be an adjustment to getting up much earlier to beat the Texas heat, and not going to bed as early as I should–meaning, I’m simply not getting enough sleep.

I felt antsy all day, like I should be running or working out. I slept poorly that night, and dragged through the track, core/strength, and yoga workouts. I felt sluggish all morning. I finally ate something small, then did something I rarely do.

I took a nap.


Miraculous! I rested only 45 minutes and felt one thousand times better afterwards. I’ve always struggled with taking a nap during the day (believe me, I wish it was otherwise). I felt so refreshed, even though I don’t think I slept at all.

I have to remind myself that I’m working out harder than I ever have. My training this past year has been wildly inconsistent, so I’m determined to stay focused and stick to my training plan.

All of this makes me thankful that I’m following a 20 week training plan. By doing so I’m giving myself enough time to work off of the base I’ve already built up, and ramp up comfortably to the much higher mileage.

I know it will take a while for my body to catch up with the new demands I’m placing on it. And in order to make that happen, I’ll need a lot of rest.

The mind and body may protest now, but by October 20th I expect to be in my best shape ever–and ready to kick some serious trail dirt in Palo Duro Canyon.


    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      I’m following a training plan I found online: http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50k.asp
      I like it because it alternates hard/easy weeks. We’ve modified it a little to accommodate one of my running partners who has been injured and couldn’t start off with a 16 miler the first week, and we’re trying to work around two of us being on vacation for a week at the end of July. We’re only doing five 20+ milers instead of seven.

  1. iRuniBreathe

    Hi Angela,
    I think sleep is totally under-rated and to that end: naps. I just don’t have the time in my day to nap, but on the odd weekend when my body just seems to be able to do nothing else, I am amazed. The process of recovery is happening as I sleep!
    It’s a lot on your body but you are doing it! Way to go and stick with it and keeping your feet moving. Run through that grumpy-ness. Or sleep through it!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      I’m feeling a lot less grumpy today and I actually did manage to take a short nap on the couch. It took some bad daytime TV to put me to sleep, but I feel great now! Thanks for your support!

  2. SeniorRunner

    For many of us, I suspect, “NAP” is a word with negative connotations. Part of our conditioning contains ideas like “Don’t be caught napping.”

    Living in South America for a couple of years helped cure me of this misconception, as I became acquainted with the totally honorable custom of the “siesta.”

    And, echoing your experience, my early morning running days become much sweeter after a brief siesta!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      I love the idea of siesta. I was in Greece years ago and the entire country practically shut down in the afternoon. I already follow the habit of eating a late dinner, so I need to get with the program regarding the naps!

  3. runwritelivelife

    Sleep….I LOVE sleep. If I stay up later than my usual bed time more than two nights in a row, I drag the next day and notice the difference in my runs. With your workout schedule and the amount of energy you’re expending, rest is crucial.

    I totally agree that sleep is under-rated. Those Europeans have certain things figured out right 😉

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