Hoping “Less” Really Is “More”

Published June 15, 2011 by Jasmine

After hitting a wall this past weekend, I decided to skip my long run on Sunday to rest. I had my moments trying to stick with that plan.  I tend to be an “all or nothing” type of person, so it was really hard to know that “the plan” called for me to be running and I wasn’t. In hindsight it really was the best decision.

Mondays are always rest days, so my first attempt at running again was on Tuesday. I had found a “pace booster” workout that I wanted to try, so I decided to run on the treadmill so that I could easily and accurately monitor my speed.  I really loved the workout and plan on incorporating it into my runs once a week in the hopes that my pace will eventually be boosted. I felt strong throughout the entire workout. The workout consisted of six minute intervals which alternated walking for 30 seconds with running for 30 seconds. Every six minutes I would increase my running speed.  I started out at 4.5 mph and ended at 8.0 mph, increasing the speed by .5 mph every six minutes.  Once I hit my 6.5 mph interval and each thereafter I did have to take a two minute rest break to lower my heart rate so I could continue. During this one hour workout my maximum heart rate reached 185 which is 95% of my maximum, and my average heart rate was 161 which is about 83% of my maximum heart rate. I have had zone testing done at the gym, which is how my maximum heart rate was determined. I really need to get this done again as it has been a few years, but at the time my maximum heart rate was 194.

This run revitalized me, and reconfirmed my belief that I CAN do this.  I have come to the realization that I don’t have to stick to a plan, and that I need to listen to my body. It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.”

I was catching up on some reading today, and it is kind of ironic that one of the articles was about overtraining. It stated that unless you are an athlete you probably aren’t overtraining, but most likely not allowing your body enough time to rest. One thing I found interesting was it noted that it is better to have a high intensity workout rather than a longer workout. I tend to be one of those people that spends a lot of time at the gym, and this gives me a good reason to cut out some of that time.  I need to increase my intensity so that I can cut down my time. I can work with that!

I am going to heed this advice about getting enough rest, and keep my fingers crossed that less is more. I have decided that I am only going to run three days a week.  Sundays will be my long run, Tuesdays an easy run, and Thursday will be my pace booster run. I usually have also worked out on Wednesday and Saturdays and am still deciding what to do on those days. I think I am going to do all of my strength training and core work on those days, coupled with 10 minutes on the bike and 10 minutes on the stairclimber.  Mondays and Fridays will remain as true rest days.

We are always told how great exercise is for us, but one thing I think we fail to remember is that exercise is stress on the body.  Unfortunately our bodies can’t differentiate between good stress and bad stress.  This is just another reason that rest is so important.

So good, bad, or ugly this is the new plan I hope to follow. It is already proving to be difficult. For the last five months every workout has been running so I feel like that is what I should be doing.

I am going to be bold and unafraid. I am going to trust my instincts. If I quit, I’ll never know what could have happened.

Remember: Fortune favors the bold.

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