I love running.
I also periodically love not running.
Taking some time away from training after a cycle and before a new one is super important for me. It’s a completely necessary mental and physical health check to let the mind and body recover. A runner’s “re-boot” button.
I’ve found that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my couple weeks of time-off of a training plan. After all, it’s kind of a shock to the body, going from what should be your peak fitness to absolute rest.
Generally, my sentiments regarding the time boils down to something like the following.
Stages of downtime
- Resistance. What do you mean, “don’t run?” When do I shower? Do I even need to shower? How do I start my day? I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.
- Acceptance. Ok, this is actually kind of nice. Beer with lunch? Yes please. Someone isn’t doubling today. Booyah!
- …a little too much acceptance. Ok, I’ll have cake for breakfast. Again. Hell, why not lunch too. I’M ON VACATION, I mean, a break.
- Restlessness. Dear couch, we’ve had a good run of ridiculous amounts of lazy this past week or so, but it’s time that I start seeing outdoors again. My sanity needs it. Thanks for understanding.
Real life stages
The above is a not-so-exaggerated representation of the few short weeks of time off. I’ve taken many of these breaks between seasons over the years, but they still occupy an odd period of time for me. I suppose it’s because such the vast majority of my year is spent training. By the time I’ve gotten used to the time off phase, I’m back to a schedule.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I took a full 10 days off, and then spent this past week running every other day. I did have to figure out when, in fact, normal people shower. I had quite a few lunch beers. And cake (not my fault that Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday happened to produce an abnormal amount of cake in our household). And I got restless as hell.
Acceptance & restlessness
I love the life that I live with training, but the reality is that it normally vetos certain activities, due to exhaustion and the utter limit of time (have we seriously not figured out time travel yet?? C’mon people). That all said, I try to make a point of taking advantage of my time off.
This time around, I was lucky enough to get in some shenanigans at the inaugural Bottlerock music festival in Napa Valley. I drove out with a couple of friends on a Thursday, camped out for a couple nights, saw a ton of music (The Avett Brothers, The Alabama Shakes, Iron & Wine, The Black Keys, Ben Harper, to name a few…) and returned to Santa Rosa late Saturday night utterly exhausted, filthy, and happy.
Michaela’s excited face on the left, Katrina on the top right (watch out for this one-turn your head for a second, and she legitimately may rush the stage…making her a splendid concert-going buddy), and Seth Avett on the bottom right.
Friends. Music. Beer. Sun. Mission accomplished.
And when the legs really started to itch for something to do, I took myself for a couple hikes in Annadel State Park.
There are worse ways to spend a couple weeks.
This week marks a return to my first scheduled week of running. It’s nice to see numbers with miles after them again, and makes me itch to see what the coming weeks have in store.
I feel rested, and ready to get to work. A break well accomplished.