The day after Augusta 70.3, I was sore. Not like the debilitating soreness I felt after running the NYC marathon last year when I could barely walk down stairs and my legs ached for days, but a nice soreness that was a constant reminder of the fact that my body carried me 70.3 miles.
Maybe it was the post-race afterglow or the last of the endorphins that were still lingering in my system, but for those few days after the race, I craved a nice long run.
Last Thursday, I gave into my craving and slipped into my sneakers for the first time since the race. Then, Davey and I headed to the local greenway to run our normal 4-mile loop. I was uncharacteristically excited to run and instead of wondering “who are you and what have you done with the Jess who only looks forward to runs because of the Huma Gel and Shot bloks?”, I decide to roll with it.
I was feeling energetic and optimistic… until I started to run.
Those 4 miles were some of the most challenging 4 miles ever and I had to walk the last mile. My heart rate was dangerously high and I was breathing so fast that I felt like I was gasping for air. Instantly, I felt discouraged. Wasn’t I in great shape? After all, I just finished a half-ironman!
Here’s the thing. Although I felt great after the race, my body and my mind needed rest.
We are all different and some of us need more rest than others. However, when you’re used to training every day and then your triathlon season ends, it can be a challenge to be ok with resting and recovering.
Here are a few things that help me make the most of my rest and recovery:
Rest sometimes has a negative connotation and as a triathlete, it can be hard not to feel lazy or over-indulgent when you rest, especially when you’re used to working out often. However, rest is just as important as exercise. Instead of feeling guilty when you sleep in or take a few weeks off from structured workouts, embrace the rest.
Try to picture your body on a cellular level and remind yourself that your body need rest in order to repair your sore muscles and rejuvenate your mind.
Mix It Up
You know all those fun activities that you put on the back burner while you were training for your triathlon? Well, now is a great time to bring them back into your life! Things like hiking, or going on leisurely walks or yoga are all awesome ways to mix it up and get in some active recovery.
Moving your body and exercising in a new way other than swimming, biking or running can be very refreshing. By mixing it up, you also give you mind a break and before you know it, you’ll be excited and motivated when it’s time to start training again.
Your body repairs itself while you sleep, so try to get as much shut-eye as you can. Now that your alarm won’t be going off an hour early so you can fit in a workout before work, enjoy that extra hour of slumber!
Be Kind To Yourself
Not only does your body need rest, but you mind needs time to relax and rejuvenate too. During this past triathlon season, I worked really hard to improve my mental toughness and so now that I’m not planning structured workouts or pushing myself, it’s easy to feel guilty or like a slacker.
Be kind to yourself and stop those feelings of guilt in their tracks by reminding yourself that you need rest in order to kick some triathlon butt next season! Take some time to reflect on your past season and start to create some inspiring goals for next season.
Become a Non-Triathlete
This past weekend we didn’t have any long bike rides or bricks scheduled and so we spend a few days in the Smokey Mountains with some friends. It was just what the doctor ordered and it was so nice to reconnect with our friends and spend some time doing non-triathlon related things like hiking and playing games and sleeping in.
Use this time of rest to reconnect with your friends, catch up on house projects, go on a trip, or stay up late and watch a movie. This change of pace will be a welcome break for your body and your mind.
How do you rest and recover in the off-season?