Thursday, January 10, 2013

Increasing fitness by not running


Building fitness can be relaxing
I believe it's okay to take an ad hoc rest day every once in a while. I did it today and I feel no guilt whatsoever. While I will probably never get up and say, "Hey, I feel great, I think I'll skip my run", I didn't rest this morning because I was feeling weak or ill. What I felt was under-rested and I concluded that I'd be better off taking it easy, rather pushing hard and inviting a problem.

When you think about it, a day of rest is often better for you than a single day's run, because recovery periods are when your body actually builds fitness. That's holds true for a day or even two, but then it starts to go the other way. I've been doing workouts six days a week for the past few years. That generally works for me. My average run  (accounting for shorter distances on weekdays and longer ones on weekends) is 3.3 miles. This seems like the right amount of exercise to keep me fit and (knock wood) to prevent me from sustaining injuries.

The reason I don't feel any guilt for skipping my today's run is that I know I'll be back at it tomorrow. However, my decision puts me three miles behind in terms of reaching my weekly target of 20, but I can probably make up some mileage on Saturday or Sunday. In the meantime, I'm happy knowing that taking a rest was the right thing to do this morning.

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