Monday, August 22, 2011

In which not working out was the right thing to do

I planned to hit the gym this morning because tomorrow is weigh-in day (at home, at least) and I am pre-programmed to try and burn, burn, burn the day before.

The alarm went off at 5 am and I hit Snooze, which is programmed for 10 minutes. Next time I heard it and opened my eyes, it was 5:23 am. Not sure how that happened, but I trudged downstairs, workout clothes in hand, already behind the 8-ball when it came to my traditional leisurely pre-workout snack and newspaper reading.

At the bottom of the stairs it hit me: I don't have any clean sports bras. Well, technically I did, but they were damp. I forgot to hang them up to dry before I went to bed. Now it's 5:30 am, and I realize, to my compounding horror, there is no Diet Coke in the fridge.

Frig this, I am going back to bed.

I took these three obstacles as a sign from the universe: You are not meant to work out today.

Too tired to actually climb back upstairs, I laid on the couch and thought it over.

Since I started 10K training in late June, I've worked out 6 days a week - sometimes 7 - due to an increase in run days (3 days a week) and complicated scheduling. I used to "only" work out 4 days a week, and I liked that. A lot.

I will be excited for this 10K to get here and get done so I can cut back a bit for the winter, say bootcamp 2x a week and running 2x a week, indoors on the treadmill. Give these old bones a break and then return to outdoor running and training refreshed and relaxed late winter/early spring.

Since today was not bootcamp or a training run day, I considered it an optional workout.

But, it's the day before weigh in! You have to work out!

No, I told myself, luxuriating under a fleece blanket watching the sky lighten through our living room window. You really don't.

I've done a lot of good work on the eating and exercise front this week and "missing" an optional 45 minutes on the elliptical this morning will not make or break everything.

Normally, skipping a workout would haunt me until the next weigh in. You screwed up! You skipped a day!

But not today.

If you read this blog with regularity, you know I historically struggle with an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to eating and exercise. Either I am 100% committed to being healthy and fit or I am mainlining Oreo Cakesters.

One of my goals, right below returning to a healthy weight, is to learn how to apply moderation to my eating and exercise. To live my WW guidelines, but if I plan an off day - or just have a bad one - get right back on track and move on. If I miss one workout, to realize it won't undo a year of amazing effort.

No guilt and move on.

So far, this past almost-year, I've done well on that front. I've gone on vacation, come home and got right back on track the moment I set my suitcase inside the front door. I'm slowly moving away from all or nothing, but I believe it honestly will take me years to undo my natural instincts on this front.

Despite my current aggressive workout schedule, I never want to live in the gym or be a slave to exercise. Like eating, I want to enjoy physical activity in moderation. I now know exercise can be fun. I want it to stay that way.

And if I work out too much or hold myself to too high a standard, I risk burning out, and that's the first step in a slippery slope I never want to gaze at again.

If asked about weight loss, I always tell people you don't have to live in the gym or go on a reality show to make it happen - and I want to practice what I preach. Because it's true, you don't need to be a workout fiend to work it off.

So in today's case I truly realize rest is good. It is important. It gives your muscles time to repair and strengthen so you can work out better and stronger next time.

And an extra day of rest is welcome this week. My training plan calls for a lot of miles in the coming week, so resting up going in is smart.

And with that, I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

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