Thursday, 13 October 2016

To Rest Or Not To Rest? And Running 10K



 




I've had a virus in my ear for the past fortnight. Usually, I'd let time do its thing, but we're flying to Ireland in a few days and having flown with ear infections before I didn't fancy it much, so I went to see a healer friend who did his thing and then turned to me with an evil grin and said you won't like what I'm going to say.
Rest? I hazarded.
Yup. And athletes are always THE WORST people to treat because they WON'T STOP. If you run with a virus it'll just take longer to get better.

Needless to say I ran the Parkrun two days later (putting in my best time yet, incidentally) but I have tried to heed his advice and be good this week and slow down a bit. By this morning though I was Utterly Fed Up With Being Good (and feeling tired as a result) so I threw caution to the wind, hooked the dogs up to their running leads, put on my running shoes and set off down the lane.

It is a beautiful day here: bright sunshine, sharp, cool, clear, although it was a bit murky first thing. I am training for a 10k  (6 miles) at the end of December and have given myself 13 weeks to move up from regular 5ks to that distance. However, last week I was feeling good and did an 8k which went well, so this morning I decided I'd run slowly and see if I could push the distance a bit more and do the 10k.

The long and short of it is I did, and I wasn't tired when I finished and I'm not aching now. I'm really chuffed. The sense of achievement and of proving to yourself you can do something is second to none. The natural high has been somewhat enhanced by the knowledge I've burnt off the glass of red, chocolate bar and piece of cake I ate last night too  :o)

All this got me thinking about my friend's exasperation over athletes' reluctance to rest for prolonged periods. M knows someone who does triathlons at World level for his age (in his 60s). He was at the World Championships a few years ago defending his title and afterwards when M caught up with him to ask how it had gone, the friend said Oh, I had a stomach bug that morning. M assumed he hadn't raced, and then the friend added So I only came in third.

I have noted with friends who are ultra-endurance runners that the thing that gets them round a 50 or 100 mile run isn't so much the fitness (although of course that counts) as their mental strength and the ability to focus with undistracted 100% attention on completing the race and accomplishing their goal. The reason I took another 10 seconds off my Parkrun PB last weekend was largely because M told me beforehand he thought I'd only be able to do it in 2-3 second increments from now on. Well I wasn't having that! I don't think any of us should let someone else define our limits for us. There's a lot to be said for telling yourself you can do something, not messing about and just getting on and doing it (or trying, because if you try and don't manage it that's still better than not trying at all).

Where I got to with it was this: athletes have a mindset of determination to carry on regardless, and it is this, essentially, which marks the difference between achieving your goals and not. Some might call it stubbornness, and my friend certainly thinks its foolhardy, but the reality is, if I had heeded his advice completely, I would not have shaved a few more seconds off my PB at last weekend's Parkrun, and I would not have achieved my goal of running 6 miles this morning, ten weeks ahead of schedule. Both these things gave me such a buzz and a very real sense of achievement that I suspect the mental benefits have had as much of a positive effect on my immunity and bug-fighting ability as rest would have done. Food for thought.

Ted would like me to tell you all that he and Poppy ran the 6 miles with me and they don't know what all the fuss is about. He'd also like to say that he narrowly escaped having to do a celebratory dance in the kitchen to Seal's Crazy, which is on my Ipod running playlist, unlike Poppy who made the mistake of not escaping into the garden when the opportunity offered as the first bar started, and was scooped up and bopped about with until she felt dizzy.
They are both snoozing now in a patch of sunlight on the carpet.

Hope all are well? I'm off to catch up on your excellent blogs :o)

CT.


32 comments:

  1. I agree totally about the feel good factor. I always feel better after exercise. Interestingly when I had a small area of skin cancer removed from my face I still continued to go to my exercise classes-just had to do them gently at first, but the difference in the healing process was amazing.
    However I would always suggest people rest a while with a virus-just some gentle exercise to remove fatigue. I've always found stubborn people get themselves into a pickle, so I'd say it's determination and inner strength instead.

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    1. It is interesting how exercise benefits so many things, mental, emotional or physical. As far as exercising while under the weather is concerned, I suspect the key is to pitch the level right and that will vary from person to person. For me, complete rest is a no-no unless I'm really poorly.

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  2. Well done on the Parkrun best...to you and the dogs! I'm 4 minutes off mine at the moment, and feel generally bloated and ugh. Trying to really hit the running again after the cricket season.

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  3. You'll get there- you ran a marathon after all!

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  4. Hey CT,
    This has really interested me. I ran my best 4K time this morning, with only two short walks in between a the running. I've felt under the weather this week, and Marc told me to rest. I knew that if I had, it would have been so easy to not get back into the routine. Also, unless I'm really ill, I don't stop my day to day stuff. Anyway, I felt a real sense of achievement today, and have started to notice my fitness levels climb. I enjoy the head space, as I run (I don't like music. I concentrate on my breathing and clear my mind as much as possible). I'm starting to feel a bit of the old go get 'eme returning, which feels good.
    Congratulations on your best time and early goals. It's a great feeling!
    Leanne xc

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    1. I think sometimes you have to just push on through to keep the routine going. I also think our bodies are capable of more than we credit them with when it comes to endurance. Fantastic news on your 4k- you go girl! It's so much easier when you start to feel the benefits. Are you heading for a Parkrun? They are addictive :o). I run without music at home too- I like to focus on my breathing and take in the nature sounds- but at Parkrun I have the iPod, I find it easier to focus without the noise of everyone's breathing around me. Keep it up, girl! Xx

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  5. I think your right, sometimes you just have to get going however bad you feel. I am so impressed on the 10K , a major achievement! Your December run is going to be a 'walk in the park'. Glad to hear you were accompanied on your run by your canine friends Bet they're tired now :) B x

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    1. Annoyingly, they weren't as tired as I'd hoped. They had a game of chase when we got back, just to rub it in. Flaked out by the fire now though :o). Xx

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  6. This is interesting - there's so much to be said for a positive attitude. I don't know what the general answer is about illness and pushing on through, but I guess everyone is different and it is about knowing your own body best. Resting up is quite a modern way of thinking anyway - I don't suppose our ancient ancestors had the choice.
    I love the way dogs rush around madly and then just stop and sleep heavily - from one extreme to the other. Harry does it still in old age (although there is more sleeping and not much rushing around now!)

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    1. I guess the grey area is if you don't feel especially unwell or only a little. I tend to push on through unless I physically can't move! I absolutely agree about ancestors- in fact, you read my mind because I was pondering that same thing this afternoon. I wonder if we rest up too quickly? The dogs make me laugh too the way they have a mad 5 minutes then fall fast asleep.

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  7. The farmer used to push on through every illness until he caught the viral infection earlier this year. That stopped him in his tracks and he is still not one hundred percent.

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    1. I think that's probably the answer- if exercise makes you feel worse instead of better afterwards you've probably over done it. Some viruses hang about longer than others too. I hope it clears soon for him.

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  8. I'm wondering whether I should go into capitals in case you can't hear me! Hope you're all fit again earwise. You're doing a great job with the running. x

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  9. All very interesting, CT. I agree that our mindset has much more influence over our bodies than we realise and I think that if you are completely determined, there's not a lot that will stop you achieving your goals. You know your own limitations. Well done on your 10k today - that's fantastic. I remember the first time I ran that distance - I was fizzing with delight afterwards; I can just imagine you dancing with glee. I am getting back into the running although I don't know how far I'm going. I generally run for about 30 minutes, so it's probably 4–5k. I really should get a measuring thingy! I will do a proper Parkrun soon. You have inspired me :-) xx

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    1. If you're running regular 30 mins sessions you'll do a parkrun no sweat. I'm looking forward to reading a post about it from you soon :o) xx

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  10. PS Forgot to say - have a great trip to Ireland and hope your ear clears up asap! x

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  11. Had to smile at the parkrun pb and the runner's mindset. I did a parkrun pb of just over 35 minutes and was really narked that I hadn't found those few extra seconds to take me under 35 minutes. I returned a week later determined to sneak under 35, and ended up knocking well over a minute off! Just shows that so much of running is in your head...

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    1. I know exactly how you felt! I never realised how crucial seconds were till I started regular parkruns :o). Congrats on your new PB- I bet you knock off more time at the next. Go girl! X

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  12. Well done you, I'm very impressed. I hope you're feeling all better very soon. I've been puffing up and down the allotments with bags of manure which I'm telling myself counts for something. CJ xx

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    1. The funny thing is I haven't felt unwell with the ear, it just hurt for a while. Seems fine now. Gardening is great exercise as is poo shifting :o). I shall call you Mrs Muscles from now on xx

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  13. That'a amazing - I can only dream of being able to run that distance! Well done to the doggies too! Have a wonderful holiday and I hope your ear is better very soon. xx

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    1. You could do it you know - if I can, you can. M suggested you had a look for couch to 5k groups in your local area or via a local running club. He said there's lots of them around and it might be a good way of doing it? Strength in numbers :o) also good support network on the days when commitment wavers! Xx

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  14. Well done on the Park Run best. Hope your ear is better soon and you have a good time in Ireland.

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    1. Thanks my friend. Back now, had a great time x

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  15. Glad you're feeling better nd that you didn't make yourself worse when you threw caution to the wind and stopped 'restin'. I think I am the worst patient in the world so know exactly how you feel....mind you I have also made myself worst in the past so I am a little more careful these days. Enjoy your time in Ireland.

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    1. Thanks Tanya, had a great time in Ireland, even managed to get a couple of runs in through spectacular scenery.

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  16. Well done CT! 10k is amazing, you'll be doing marathons and ultra running soon!!
    I'd love to see a snippet of where you run. I'm imagining country lanes and wildflower meadows... Am I close?
    I've given up on trying to get back to running anytime soon - too busy with little ones. But I have started yoga during naptimes so it's a start ;)

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    1. Thanks my dear :o) Half marathon....maybe.....
      Yup, pretty spot on with your imagining. I'll try and take some pics next time I'm out so you can see. I think running with small people is not an easy thing to do, but yoga sounds just the job. Well done, I know it's hard with little ones to find the time for yourself, but important to do so when you can.

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  17. Respect. From one iron-willed woman to another, though. Will power and positive thinking can drive you forward, but your body till needs that rest....

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    1. Thanks my dear :o) Resting up today because did yoga yesterday and can't move now! :o)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x