During my run last week I experienced some mild knee discomfort, on the side. Just a sort of stiffness, really. It mostly subsided afterward, so like an idiot I just taped it up and ran again the next day. Thankfully this didn’t create a firestorm of pain, but the twinginess definitely did not subside.
And so, when my next scheduled run rolled around, I was forced to make a tough decision: do I run or do I take… God forbid… an UNSCHEDULED REST DAY???
Pros: I have a marathon coming up and I don’t want to turn a minor issue into a major one.
Cons: I have a marathon coming up! Loss of fitness! Monthly mileage goals!!! Calories burned!!!!!! THE PLAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don’t know if you, too, suffer from dreadful guilt over a run not taken, even with justifiable cause. Maybe I am the sole crazy one in this world (probable). But if you also suffer from irrational exercise compulsions, perhaps you can benefit from my solution, which was this:
I found Pat. Pat used to be a competitive gymnast. He has broken every bone and torn every ligament in his body, basically. He knows a thing or two about healing and recovery. I explained my why I was considering a rest day against my own will, and he said,
“DON’T RUN. Ligaments take forever to heal. If you make it worse you could have a serious injury on your hands.”
“So I’m making the right decision?” I responded hopefully.
“You are making the right decision,” was his emphatic reply. And I didn’t run for a week.
Next time you think you might need a rest day but can’t seem to pull the trigger, go find a cooler, wiser head to make the decision for you. Sometimes it takes a little outside perspective, you know?