Lessons Learned from Skipping My Rest Day…

Never in a million years did I think that working on speed would lead me on the emotional journey I’ve been on, but here we are. Growing pains all around.¬†Along with my struggle with dissonance and seeing myself as I am, I’ve also really been struggling to see progress in my running lately. I’ve been struggling to hit my paces, 5ks have been slower than I know I’m capable of, and it’s been bugging me. I’m putting in work and I’m trying and I just don’t see that I’m getting anywhere.

I had a heart to heart with my coach. I talked to my BRF. I tried to relax and trust the process. On Wednesday I did my tempo run on the treadmill so I could prove to myself that the paces are possible, and that it’s possible for me to push through and sustain them–which I did. Then on Thursday, it was the first Flash 5k of the season for SCRR, and while it was supposed to be my rest day, I got coach’s blessing to participate as long as I took it easy.

Ever one to follow the rules, I went into it with the plan to take it easy. I didn’t even bring my watch with me, I left it at home so I wouldn’t be tempted to push. I started the Strava app, put it in my pocket, and went. I did what felt good at any given point in time–sometimes I ran hard, sometimes I backed off, sometimes I walked–and I didn’t stress about it. I was out to have a run and fun with my friends. I came in around 33:47–which was my race pace last year when I was trying. I was pumped because I took it so easy. I wasn’t trying. In that moment I could see the progress that my coach and friends assured me was happening.

This was reinforced on Saturday. I did the Yinzer 5k, and I went in with the intention of racing it and going sub-30 again, but I was also aware that I had skipped my rest day and was working with tired legs, so I figured I’d give it my best shot and see what happened. I kept up with the 9:30s for the first mile, but then I started cramping so I backed off, got some water, walked a minute. I picked it back up for mile 3 and finished in 31:36. Just 6 seconds off of my PR from last fall. If I could do that when it wasn’t even my best effort…that’s progress.

Even yesterday when I was doing my recovery workout on the rower–when I first started I could do about 10 minutes on the rower before my back would start screaming at me, yesterday I did a solid 20 minutes and could have kept going. I love how strong I’m getting. It’s a good place to be going into another track workout.

More soon…