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Unplanned Rest Day

May 29, 2011

Hello! I can’t believe it’s Sunday already – the weekend is going so fast! It’s OK though because I also have the rest of the week off.

I struggled with something on Friday that I know a lot of other bloggers struggle with as well – taking an unplanned rest day. I had planned to go to the gym after work, but I debated with myself all day about whether to go or not and I ended up having an afternoon nap instead. The problem was that my hip and my ITB were really sore, even when just sitting down or wondering around. I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair at work and I had to hit the ibuprofen. I considered going for a walk, doing some upper body circuits or some 30 Day Shred, but in the end I decided complete rest was probably what I needed.

The question of whether to work out or not consumed my thoughts for most of the day when I should have really been concentrating on other things. I’m fine with taking rest days, but I really hate having to take unscheduled ones. I like to think that I have a good balance when it comes to fitness, but I guess sometimes I’m a bit more committed to my workouts than I should be. Exercise should be fun and it shouldn’t cause injury or a lot of discomfort. The important thing is that I made the right decision and skipped the gym.

Yesterday was my planned rest day and I was still popping the pills and icing my hip at every opportunity. I was starting to worrying about the viability of my longer run this morning, but when I got up this morning my hip was much better. I suspect that that my underlying ITB injury had been exacerbated by yoga practice on Thursday night. A lot of the poses we did isolated the hip area and really stretched my hamstrings which are pretty short. I’ll just have to be more careful next time I go to yoga.

I really enjoyed my run around Cambridge this morning. It’s a lot more interesting than my usual route around where I live in Leeds. There were obstacles to overcome like Japanese tourists, a large group of Spanish school children and men inexplicably dressed in gowns at 10am. The route I did was really varied and took me through town, along the Backs and along the river. I always thought I was a pretty slow runner, but I managed to overtake a couple of other runners, so I guess I’m not the slowest out there. I also enjoyed watching the rowers out on the river – it was really peaceful and also gave me some inspiration for my race in a few weeks. The only competitive sport I’ve done before is rowing and I remembered the buzz of pushing myself. I’m not planning to push myself TOO much in my first 10k, but it still put me in a good frame of mind.

As I might have mentioned I’m on holiday from work this week Winking smile So, I’m planning to do my runs and a couple of yoga practices, but no other cross-training. My plan this week is:

Monday 40 min walk/run
Tuesday Yoga
Wednesday 30 min interval run
Thursday Yoga
Friday 25 min run (effort 6/7 out of 10)
Saturday Rest
Sunday 66 min run

Do you take unplanned rest days and do you feel bad about it? I truly believe that you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking rest days, but I still do sometimes!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2011 5:40 pm

    Goodness, please be careful with the Ibuprofen! I thought because they’re an over-the-counter painkiller that they were safe to take regularly and I have permanent kidney damage from them. I only took them on and off for a year (never even the maximum dose, 2-4 on any given day) and they’re really quite damaging potentially. Stupid question but I presume you’re taking them after food? I took them on an empty stomach and they really messed with my IBS too. Sorry, I’m no-one to lecture about health given the abysmal state of my body, I just worry a bit whenever anyone mentions Ibuprofen. I’m banned from taking them now and was going to mention it in a post soon.

    I never take rest days, let alone unplanned ones, because I can’t deal with the guilt…and look at the state of me! I eventually get forced to rest anyway because my body breaks down, and the fact that you had a strong run today reinforces the fact that you did the right thing.

    Yoga can aggravate ITB injuries: I know it did with mine! I tend to back off with the deeper poses and take easier options so I don’t overstretch things.

    Have a brill holiday from work!


  2. May 29, 2011 6:58 pm

    Just read Jess’s comment – I never knew that about those tablets! scary! Anyway, good for you, listening to my body is something I’m constantly working on and I do find it tough to take unsheduled rest days. Good for you with being sensible! Sounds like the runs I have when I go through the middle of Durham!

  3. May 29, 2011 8:13 pm

    I’m totally with you on the ‘unplanned’ bit, especially when it’s down to an injury that isn’t major but could be if you don’t listen to it……….
    I definitely think that you did the right thing though as an inflamed ITB just does NOT take kindly to further abuse…..


  4. May 30, 2011 10:03 am

    Unplanned ones are possibly the ones you need most.. Somedays your body just says no, I need some time off!

  5. May 30, 2011 10:21 am

    Ah bliss, I envy you running in Cambridge!

    As for unplanned rest days, I definitely have had problems with that in the past. But I think injury and / or illness helps you see things in a different light. Working out is about staying fit and healthy, not about sticking to a schedule. Yes, having a structured routine will help keep consistency and balance, but there are also times when sticking to it can undermine your overall goal. Those are the time when you need to depart from it.

    I say that as if I am an old, wizened expert, but in actual fact it’s from experience of NOT taking unscheduled rest days when I need them. So I agree, the important thing was that you took it. The mind games will hopefully resolve themselves with time.

    ps — my physio told me to avoid stretching out my hip area, as I needed things there to tighten up to help deal with the hypermobility. So that might be the reason why yoga make things worse? Certainly stretching isn’t always the best thing for an injury..

  6. May 30, 2011 12:58 pm

    I do like unplanned rest days, especially when im tired and have lots to do – we should take them more often!

  7. DonnyFan permalink
    May 31, 2011 5:09 am

    I identify completely with “The question of whether to work out or not consumed my thoughts for most of the day when I should have really been concentrating on other things”. I was exactly the same yesterday, although I knew deep down that I wasn’t going to exercise later in the day 😦

    I do try not to beat myself up too much about it though as some weeks I exercise 6 out of 7 days, so overall I try to look at the bigger picture.

    And yay to a week off! I too have time off work – FAB!


  8. May 31, 2011 12:17 pm

    I think unplanned rest days are a good thing if that’s what your body needs. Listening to your body is most important.

  9. May 31, 2011 9:40 pm

    It’s lovely running along the river in Cambridge! Hope your hip continues to improve too.

  10. June 1, 2011 4:31 am

    I totally have the same thoughts on an unplanned rest day. I hate it, because I can’t even enjoy taking time off- it just stresses me out! I need to work on chilling out and enjoying the time when it presents itself 🙂 Hope your hip improves!

  11. June 5, 2011 1:00 pm

    I know where you’re coming from! But you definitely made the right decision; you’ll get more benefit from exercising when you’re in good shape after a rest day than you would have if you’d pushed yourself into it and possibly aggravated the injury – glad it felt better today!
    Have a brilliant week off 🙂

  12. Lenna (veganlenna) permalink
    June 10, 2011 9:37 am

    I also sometimes feel a bit guilty, but then – when my body hurts or is tired, it is screaming for a rest. So planned or unplanned, I do what is the best for my body and for me:)

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