What I’ve learnt about needing to rest

what I've learnt about needing to rest

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed lots runners on Instagram saying that they have been ill, injured or feeling exhausted. And I was also one of them. Last week I was feeling so tired that I ended up skipping all my runs and did no cardio at Crossfit – the only exercise I did was stretching and strength training.

Normally I’m the sort of person who will push myself, especially when it comes to fitness. I’ll often do a morning run and then another workout in the evening. But recently I’ve been re-thinking what I do, why I do it and, ultimately, is it healthy?

I’m turning 35 at the weekend and I’ve found that as I’ve gotten further into my 30s I simply don’t have the energy to do the amount of training I could easily do 5 years ago. Whereas once I didn’t need to think about my nutrition, stretching or getting plenty of sleep – now these things have become vital for me.

I still love running and I want to continue long distance running for as long as possible. Plus I’m still really enjoying Crossfit and it is something I can see myself doing for another 10 or 20 years, maybe even longer. So I know that if I want to keep doing both these sports I’ve got to take care of myself.

Another reason why I want to continue exercising is because I genuinely want to live a healthy lifestyle. Fitting into a certain dress size and being comfortable in a bikini are both secondary to wanting to take care of my body inside and out, both mentally and physically.

It was wanting to be healthy that made me realise that constantly pushing myself to run or do a Crossfit class when I felt tired, unwell or just completely drained from a busy day wasn’t healthy. In fact it was making me stressed and anxious – I’d feel really guilty if I didn’t manage to get up at 5am to go for a run when I’d only got back from a double Crossfit session at 9pm the night before; which is crazy considering I’ll train about 6 times a week! This, combined with a blog post written by the owner and head coach of the Crossfit box I go to about the need for recovery and rest, has made me completely reevaluate my fitness routine.  

I now realise that what I was doing before wasn’t good for either my physical or mental health. So now instead of always trying to do more – fit in more runs or do an extra Crossfit session, I’m looking to do less exercise and more rest. I’m planning on actually getting round to doing yoga on a regular basis to help destress and unwind from a busy day. Plus I’m trying to get 8 hours sleep a night. I’m also constantly making small improvements to my diet and nutrition, trying to make slightly healthier choices everyday, but not to the point where it becomes an obsession – wine and chocolate are too important for my general wellbeing to cut them out!

Although it is a phrase that has become a bit overused to the point of becoming a cliche – I am looking to lead a more balanced lifestyle. One where it’s ok to have an occasional lie-in on Sunday and get up late to make (protein) pancakes, instead of one where I have to be up at 6am to run.

I still want to achieve running PBs and get stronger and fitter in Crossfit, but I also want to enjoy running and Crossfit without feeling stressed and anxious. Hopefully by resting more, taking actual recovery, relaxing and making all round healthier choices I will be able to achieve my goals in a more healthy and positive way.

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