The Hardest Part of Running is Not Running

I think the title sums up my feelings pretty well. For me the hardest part of running is not running, especially when I could if I needed to.

No it isn’t that I can’t run, it is that I have CHOSEN not to run until at least this Saturday, which will be 10 consecutive  days off from running.

What in the world are you doing Harold?

You love to run, no matter what!

During the Runner’s World Festival 5K and Half Marathon (WOW! I can’t believe that it has been almost 2 weeks) my hamstrings told me in no uncertain terms they were done.

To be honest they have been bothering me since August, never quite enough to completely shut it down for a long period, but always there, causing a little/lot of discomfort, but not what I would consider getting into the pain category, until the Runner’s World Half Marathon. When the wheels came off over the last 5.0 or so miles of the RW Half, I knew that they needed the rest and promised them that if they got me to the finish, I would give them the rest they deserved.

I went back on my word and ran an easy 3.0 on the treadmill on Monday, took the day off Tuesday and when I tried to run an easy 5.0 miles the following Wednesday, they were still hurting and telling me that “you promised”, so I cut the run short and had to make some choices.

  • Keep running and continue to put up with the discomfort, until it became a full-fledged injury and then shut it down involuntarily
  • Stop running and let my body heal (mentally and physically)

I stopped and listened to what my body wanted to do and chose option 2.

I haven’t run since then!

Great Training Cycle

I have had a after a GREAT training cycle that has lasted pretty much the whole year, which was also way too long and I know it. Over the year I have increased my mileage to between 40 and 60 miles a week, with a LOT of double-digit runs, some speed work (started going to the track again regularly in September), so my body has been trying to tell me it needs some rest and I have ignored it, especially while training for the Runner’s World Half Festival.

Now is time for me to actually listen.

Running Rest Streak

This is day 7 of my giving my body a break rest streak and it is getting harder and harder to just not go out and run. My legs are feeling GREAT (just a few twinges once in a while), I have that “I want to run” attitude, but I still want to get to the 10 consecutive days of rest, that I know my body still really needs.

This running rest streak is also why, I have not been posting my daily RunLog entries. No running, no entries, well that is not true, as you can see below, there are plenty of DNR (Did Not Run) entries.

As you can see, I have kept walking and have been doing stuff around the house like rototilling the gardens, moving wood, etc., but otherwise I have been doing a lot of resting of my legs.


Yesterday afternoon I also went and treated myself to a GREAT deep tissue message. I used the masseuse that I used for a long time when my knee was really bad. She is very knowledgeable and definitely got my attention when she was working on the hamstrings and a few other places that I didn’t realize were bothering me, until she broke up a lot of the build-up that was in my muscles.

I know it worked well because last night I had a hard time keeping my eyes open and even fell asleep during the 1st quarter of the Celtics game (I woke up just in time for the #Fitblog chat) and just went to bed after that. That is very unusual for me and I knew it was a result of the massage and all the build-up that my body was getting rid of. This morning I felt as though I had a rough workout yesterday and am a little sore – but it is a good sore and I know now how much I needed the massage.

Deep massage isn’t what everyone enjoys, but I have found that it does help me recover better and helps my body heal faster. Now if I could hit the lottery and have it done weekly, all would be wonderful in my running world ;-).

The reality is

that my plan is finish up the last 3 days of rest and to start running again at the Central Maine Striders’ Group run on Sunday morning.

But you want to know something, this next 3 days is going to be tough to not run! I am feeling really great and want to get out there, but I also want a full 10 days of not running to give my body the time it needs heal the minor aches and pains that have been around for the last couple of months, especially my hamstrings.

I also know that I am going to have to start working on strengthening my hamstrings and hips, so the back of the garage will get to see more of me, along with the thera-bands in my dresser drawer.

  • How long are your typical training cycles?
  • How many days off do you usually take at the end of the cycle or after a big race?
  • How hard is it to not run, when you start feeling good again, but your self-imposed planned days off streak is not over ?

11 thoughts on “The Hardest Part of Running is Not Running

  1. The only real training cycle I set up for myself I ended up injured (Oct 29, 2011) and have not been 100% since then. The cycle took me from the 20’s into the 50’s with no rest weeks. It was too long and too much. I did my first two ultras in this cycle and have been paying for it since then!! Listen to your body and take the rest!! I’m on a rest streak right now, too (actually a non running injury that I tweaked while running). I plan on getting out again tomorrow or Friday!

    Enjoy your rest!!!

    1. Listening to our bodies is something that we learn as we get more experienced (notice I didn’t say older :-)). I hope that you don’t experience any setbacks. I am finding out that my hamstrings are bothering me more when I sit at my desk, so I might rig it up to be a stand up desk for a while 🙂 We’ll see what happens.

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