How Not to Do a Rest Day

Rest and recovery days….  Let’s face it: Most amateur athletes get away with not completely resting on designated rest days.  Amateurs don’t rely on prize money or sponsorships for their livelihoods, and they have lives.  And seeing as the closest I’ve ever come to winning my age group in any sort of individual athletic endeavor was an accidental top 20 finish in a 5K years ago, I fall squarely in that amateur category.  So, it seemed reasonable to make up an easy run on Friday — technically my rest day — and then go for a regularly scheduled a long(er) run on Saturday.


The unthinkable happened Saturday during the long run:  As of 7:30am Saturday, the gams were dead.  Sure, I know what tired legs feel like, but in the past this sort of fatigue has only occurred while doing something epic, like long-distance hiking or an overnight relay.  Having this happen during a planned training run seemed like a byproduct of getting older or something.  I bailed after 2 miles and actually wished it was Monday so I could sit behind my desk and not move.  How depressing.  I still had a picnic to attend in the afternoon, and I wasn’t even sure I could…stand.  I rallied for 5 more hours of grilling, three-legged racing, balloon tossing, wheel barrow racing, and tug-o-warring.  Post picnic, it was divine to jump into the pool and just float. 

 So what went wrong?

A better way to do a rest day: 
farmers market and hydration. Zinnias
were the bounty from this weekend.

1.  The makeup run was in 85% relative humidity and 81˚F…at 6am.  Indeed, Washington, DC, was still in the midst of a heat wave.  Sigh.

2.  After the makeup run, I did errands.  On foot.  Between noon and 4pm. In 102˚F temps.  Genius move.  You’d think with all the letters after my name, I’d know better.  I wound up walking over 5 miles in that time and drank only a liter of water.

3.  I sort of skipped lunch.  But, don’t worry, I made up for it by eating every sample possible in Costco….

4.  Right.  I wandered around in Costco, shopping for a picnic that over 100 people were expected to attend.  Who knows how many miles walking around Costco wound up being.

5.  A normal person would sit down in the evening after running around all day, right?  Nah.  Not me.  Instead, after finally eating a meal, I stood around slicing onions for the picnic.

The only time I remember sitting on Friday was when I was driving and when waiting to pick up a friend from a medical appointment (and afterward at his apartment, to make sure he didn’t jump out of a window while shot up on pain meds). 

In the past, my superpower has been quick-ish recovery.  This superpower has been less predictable lately, but I was pleased when I woke up Sunday morning and the gams felt….normal.  So, having drank the Pilates reformer Kool-Aid earlier this summer, I went to a reformer class and then the farmers market.  Not exactly a rest day, but close enough for this amateur.