It is no secret that I will be heading back to the US for the summer in just a couple of weeks...Hooray! It was all set that I would be finishing my 10K training exactly when I would be heading west (literally west, since we will be stopping in Dubai and London first). The program consists of four days of running. Two Mondays ago I just really wasn't feeling optimistic about my 35 minute run so I decided to ease into the week by doing the elliptical and bike instead. I ended up having a great running week on Tue, Wed, Thur and Fri!
Until the next Monday came around and I went to run and yikes!!! Pain in my left calf muscle. Have you ever felt that pain? The one that if you take another step it feels like it will tear? Why did this happen? I had just walked twenty minutes to the gym and felt no pain at all? I hopped onto the elliptical, feeling no pain again. Tuesday I tried again...same thing. By Wednesday I had done some research about strained calves and decided to take the week off from running. I decided to do the bike, elliptical and stairclimber instead (for cardio).
I remembered the week prior, when I had run four days in a row, that my calves felt tight. I kept telling myself to go get a massage (remember I am in China and they are cheap!) but I never got around to it. I did try to stretch more diligently. Looking back I can see that I should've ran for two days and rested for one in between, exactly what the training program recommends. I was too dead set on keeping to my weekly schedule, which was counter productive since I had to take an entire week off anyway. The bright side of that is I will now have a week left instead of being done and being tempted to abandon running altogether while I am home...I will be motivated to finish and then start the Half Training Program (that is the plan). I also accredit my strain from needing new running shoes. I buy my running shoes in the states, while home, and I know they are overdue. Trust me, going to the running store is first on my list of to do's in California! I pray they can hold out for three more weeks.
So, now I know I need to rest when I am supposed to. It is hard for me to do this. I panic that my habit will break overnight. So on my rest days I usually do the elliptical, which uses different muscles than running. Before you sign me up for an exercise anonymous group you should know I only sometimes exercise on Saturdays and never exercise on Sundays. Funny how I don't look like I exercise that much.
I realized a few things about myself the week I couldn't run. First...I need running! Even though I dread it and it is hard for me, it keeps me progressing. I got pretty bored doing the machines. I also got lazy because I wasn't being pushed to progress. Running, for me, boosts my self confidence so much! I found myself having more self-doubt in other areas of my life. When those negative feelings try to creep in at other times I can say to myself, "I don't suck because I ran today". It doesn't sound as convincing when you substitute "run" for "exercised", even though I shouldn't have those negative thoughts anyway (but I do)! Also, even though I kept a strict work out schedule, I wasn't as motivated to eat as healthy. In my head, fueling my body with nutrients for running is clearer than fueling my body for the elliptical. Again, it probably shouldn't be different but, to me, it is.
The bottom line...I NEED to run to keep sane.
But I also NEED to rest to keep healthy.