Today’s Workout: Impromptu Rest Day
This morning I woke up with a twinge in my leg and thought, “Uh oh, this can’t be good.” I was hoping it would be gone by the time I got home from work, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. I was still wrestling with the idea of running, but the fact that a) my knee was still bothering me, b) I was so busy at work today that I didn’t eat “lunch” until 4:00 p.m., and c) I was feeling rather dehydrated (again, because I was so busy at work that I didn’t have one glass of water all day), made me decide to take another rest day and continue my running schedule tomorrow.
I can’t help but say I’m rather annoyed, because it was this very same point in my training last year that I also started to have knee pain. Instead of resting, I just continued to run and push myself, and I ended up with Runner’s Knee. I refuse to let this happen again this time. I will not be confined to only running 13.1 for the rest of my life!
This spurred the idea of 3 Signs You Need a Rest Day. Here are a few warning signals:
1) You’re feeling dehydrated. If you haven’t had enough water before your run, then it’s not a good idea to bother running. I’d suggest drinking 16 oz of water at least 20 minutes before a run if you’re a morning runner (gives you time to go to the bathroom, too!), and drinking 8 6 oz glasses of water throughout the day and another glass 20 minutes before you’re run if you’re an evening runner. If you run mid-day, your water intake should be somewhere in-between.
2) You haven’t properly fueled. I was also guilty of this today. My diet consisted of a large coffee from Dunkin’s this morning, a banana at some point around noontime, and a foot-long Subway sandwich at 4:00 when I finally had a chance to take a lunch break. Not very ideal. By the time I got home at 6:00, I was stuffed to the gills and not exactly looking forward to running like that. I always try to give myself a three-hour window before my run when it comes to meals; if I get hungry, I’ll eat a piece of fruit (usually a banana) a half hour beforehand. I also try to have three decent sized meals and four snacks throughout the day, overall.
3) You have any sort of pain-at all! Yes, it might be a tiny twinge in your knee today, but if you keep running on it, it might end up being a huge pain in the you know what tomorrow. I always try to avoid taking Tylenol, having my doctor administer Cortisol (I had one offer to administer it to me once and I balked, and haven’t seen him since), or anything else that might mask my pain. I hate taking extra rest days, but is rather do that than seriously injure myself and not be able to run for the long haul.
Considering I was guilty of all three of these items, I decided to forego my run today. 😦
Tomorrow I’m scheduled for a 5-mile run. I plan on starting off slow…and then we’ll see how it goes!
What major factors do you use to determine if you need a rest day?
Do you take any painkillers, muscle ointments, etc., to help you overcome any small daily twinges? Or do you try to tough it out without using anything?