Rest and Running: A Fine Balance

TORONTO. February 24th 2014. Tina Benigno is delighted to be back as a Digital Champion with Canada Running Series! In October 2013, she ran her third full marathon as a Digital Champion for STWM. Tina started running in 2009 for cognitive and emotional well-being, as well as physical health. As her ability improved, she gained more confidence. Tina’s best race time is from the Toronto Yonge Street 10K last year. She’s aiming to get a personal best at this year’s TYS10K! Follow Tina as she reflects on her training and life events on Twitter and on her blog.

Rest and Running: A Fine Balance. By Tina Benigno.

Rest is easier for some of us!

Rest is easy for some of us!

Listen to your body. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I sure thought so, and still do, so it’s humbling to realize that maybe I’m not as good at listening to my body as I  thought. I have been a runner for a few years now and it was only when I would get injured and sick while training for events that I realized just how critical it is to pay attention to my own individual abilities and circumstances. Yes, I rested, but perhaps not as much as I needed to. With the incredible and supportive running community on social media, it is easy to get lost in the whirlwind of other people’s training updates and ‘personal best’ announcements.

It’s no secret that rest and recovery during race training are important. “Essential REST: How to Recover Right” is actually the feature headline on the current issue of the running magazine keeping me company on my desk. These things can make you a better athlete! It seems like everywhere I turn, there are articles about how sleep, active recovery and nutrition can improve athletic performance. Some of you might be thinking, “yes please, I NEED MORE REST,” while others might be pleading “No! I rest enough. Let’s move!”

Resting, especially when sick or injured is crucial, even though it can definitely be frustrating. If you are not sick or injured, then of course the duration and type of rest depends on many things including what you’re fitness goals are (i.e. what type of event you’re training for, if you’re training for one), health conditions, and physical ability. This is when a coach or trainer can come in handy!

It is crucial to take days off during your week to let your body recover, reaping the benefits of your hard work. Ever since taking a personal training course a few years ago, I have been preaching to those people closest to me that being in bed by 10:30pm is crucial to ensuring you are asleep during the two peak periods of growth hormone release ( 11P.M. and 1A.M.), even when I myself can’t always be asleep by that time.

These days, I take rest very seriously. In fact, I am writing this blog post in my pyjamas! I put in the training that I can, but I also sit back and let my body do the rest. I have learned that as tuned in as I am, truly listening to my body is something that I am still learning to do well. Sometimes I just don’t like what my body is saying, but ignoring it isn’t usually going to help and could even make it worse.

Rest is not waste. Without breaks, I break down. I have learned, much to my dismay, that I have a somewhat low threshold for stress (both emotional and physical), so am working within these means. No matter how high or low your threshold, you have one. Knowing this is liberating! Embrace the rest!

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you rested and ready to go at the start line of the Toronto Yonge Street 10K in April!

How do you make time for rest during your training schedule? Do you find it hard to slow down?

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