Sometimes it is okay to quit.
What I really mean is taking time off. There is a difference between giving up and giving your body a rest. Defeat is succumbing to the voice inside telling you it is too hard, that you are not strong enough, that you are too tired. Winning is listening to the voice telling you that you can do it, that you are stronger than your fears, that you feel the most alive you have ever felt—even if winning means getting in that extra set or running a great pace per mile.
Even though pushing our bodies makes us champions, sometimes giving it a rest it needs can also make us stronger.
Two weeks ago I took a week off from running. I didn’t feel like I lost my motivation, or love for the sport, but rather my body was simply tired. I had been putting in grueling runs and workouts, completing races and trying my best to live as healthy as I could. Each day that week I asked myself, “Do you want to go for run?” Each time I didn’t. I honestly didn’t feel guilty about not running the way I usually do. I listened to what my body was telling me and enjoyed sleeping in a bit before work, opposed to 5:30 a.m. runs.
However, for every week you take off running, it will take 2-3 weeks to get back into your former groove of things. I also learned this the hard way. After taking that week off, I felt even more motivated to get back at it. But those first few runs were a bit challenging as I thought they would be. I noticed I was back to a slower pace and I had to focus on my form and breathing—all aspects of running I felt I mastered.
It took me a few jogs to get my groove back. Even though I wish I never stopped so I wouldn’t have lost the progress I was making, taking the break rekindled my fighting spirit. I had to work hard and push myself, and once I was back in the swing of things, I now feel unstoppable.
Last week I had a total of six workouts, running in the morning, then weight lifting and another run in the evening at the gym. After one week alone, I already feel and see my muscles getting stronger and more defined. I planned on working on my arms tonight at the gym, followed by a treadmill run. I wasn’t able to make it there, and for a few minutes contemplated just staying in bed and calling it an early and exercise free night. But I truly was looking forward to my workout and wanted to get moving. Plus, I prefer running outside, so I laced up and hit the road.
The fresh air felt delicious to my lungs and my legs felt both sturdy and flexible. With each stride my legs felt more powerful. I pushed myself just enough and finished feeling really good about going for a night run. It was the perfect way to end a day that was full of healthy food choices (plus ab work and squats) and the perfect was to start of the week.
It doesn’t matter how many times your body tells you to rest. All that matters is coming back with that fighting spirit to continue living a fitter and healthier lifestyle.
Distance: Mile 1 Pace: 10:24 min/mi
Distance: Mile 2 Pace: 10:39 min/mi
(My goal is to get to under 10 min/mi, so am almost there!)