Rest Week Observations

First things first, the winner of the iherb shopping spree give away is…

Lisa @ Early Morning Run says:

Those cookies look delish!

I would probably stock up on some Bob’s Red Mill cereals, chia seeds, and cherry juice! I love cherries and cherry juice, but the juice is just SO expensive!

Congrats Lisa! Email me your contact info so I can hook you up with the goods.

After last weekend’s race I was feelin’ a little burned out. I was looking forward to a break from focused training. I’m on day 5 of my “rest week” and I’ve come up with the following observations:

  1. Running is a vital part of my routine. Without the structure of team workouts, long runs, and races I feel a little lost. I’ve been sort of cranky and restless this week – I miss training!
  2. The more time I have, the less productive I am. Despite the extra hours in my day, I’ve spent wayyyy too much time screwing around on Facebook and not enough time doing laundry and other “to-do’s”.
  3. I’m less social. I miss my running buddies.
  4. My eating habits are off. Food tastes better when you’re hungry, but since I’ve been kind of bored/blah, I’ve been doing a lot of mindless snacking. I’ve also been lazy about cooking. All I want to do is eat nut butter out of the jar whilst watching Gossip Girl!
  5. Despite my itch to get back on the training wagon, a rest week every so often is a GOOD thing. It recharges me, remotivates me, and allows my body to recover.

I might run a track 10K in the next couple of months, but if not, my next races will be the Healthy Kidney 10K on May 16th and the Brooklyn half-marathon on May 22nd.

Despite being a little cranky this week, there have been plenty of things I’ve gotten excited about.

1) Real Pickles – my friend Jesse has been raving about these for years and yesterday I finally was able to try them out. These raw and organic goodies are made using a lactic acid fermentation process. No vinegar needed! Why is this better for you?

From the Real Pickles website:

Today, Real Pickles is one of a small handful of businesses in the United States producing raw, lactic acid fermented (or naturally fermented) pickles. This traditional pickling process went out of favor with the advent of industrial food production. Modern pickling methods, including use of vinegar (usually in place of fermentation) and pasteurization, produce a uniform, shelf stable product suitable to the needs of the large food corporations. Unfortunately, modern pickles do not offer the authentic flavor or health promoting qualities of traditional pickles.

Real Pickles

I may or may not have opened a jar on my way home from work yesterday. Yes, I was that weird girl on W. 53rd Street  chowing down on a pickle. It was good! You can find these pickles throughout the Northeast in health food stores and most Whole Foods locations. Yay.

2) Another thing I’ve been lovin’ lately? Justin’s almond butter slathered on Kashi TLC crackers. Dinner last night was about 3 platefuls. Lazy? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely. This slightly sweet-savory-salty combo is highly recommended 🙂

almond butter

3) We all know that I love ice cream and frozen yogurt and that will never change. But occasionally, I want to add something a little more nutrient-dense into my routine. Solution? Banana “ice cream”! So simple – just put one frozen banana into the food processor and process for a few minutes, until smooth and creamy. I added shredded coconut and chocolate chips to my banana “ice cream”. Yum.

Banana soft serve

4) And of course, my week would not be complete without dark chocolate. I used to eat Baci chocolates (it means “kisses” in Italian) by the bag when I lived in Florence. Oh how I miss 2-a-day gelatos and 8 Bacis for dessert (no joke). If there was ever a time to indulge, a semester in Italy was the time to do it! I will try to make this bag last longer than 2 days.

Baci

I try to eat a balanced diet, train hard, and get a good amount of sleep, however I know there’s something I need to work on – hydration. Now that the weather is getting warmer, doing long runs (10 miles +) without water and electrolytes is just not going to cut it. My friend Michael is writing a series of articles on the importance of hydration for endurance athletes. Drinking enough fluid during your next race may even lead to a new PR!

And finally, I leave you with some lovely gems from the Colon Cancer 15K last weekend. Race photos. Always so bad. But oh-so-entertaining!

Colon Cancer 15K

Colon Cancer 15K

Colon Cancer 15K

Do you ever take planned time off from running or exercise?

Do you have a favorite springtime candy?? I cannot wait until Easter goodies are marked 50% off. CVS and Walgreens, here I come!

  • I personally HATE rest weeks…although I know they are vital and I grudgingly do them I don’t have to like it! haha!! Happy Friday! 🙂

  • Those pics are not bad at all! 🙂 I might have to try your banana “ice cream” since it makes two of my favorite things…banana & ice cream!

  • I very rarely take rest days – only the day after a very long run. I always feel so cranky and crap on them, like you I think!I know I should take more..I jsut hate them!
    Love the banana ice cream 🙂

  • i feel ya sister…i’m so glad to hear someone else is having hydration issues…these cramps during long runs on the beautiful sunny days are just not cutting it. take your rest week with a grain of salt, you’ll be hitting the pavement soon enough 🙂

  • Mmm. Having time off is hard. I think it is a good thing though when you plan it! The hard thing for me is if/when life truly gets in the way of your schedule and you feel like things are sliding. That’s tough.

    On another note: I want a food processor SO much!! Gah! Banana ice cream!!

  • Usually 2-3 days is the maximum time off I can take before I start getting a bit stir crazy. But the good thing about time off can be that it helps me come back with a vengeance. I missed a lot of running in February due to illness and cross country travel for grad school interviews, and it felt so awesome to be able to get back into my routine again. (I should write a post about how I fit in a few runs during those interviews though– some of those were memorable!)

  • Ain’t that funny? I’m a mindless PB eater when I don’t run and have more GG-watching time, too!;)

  • I’m so excited to win the shopping spree!

    You have a really great way of looking at running and the need for a break everyonce in a while. I am always active (running or the gym), only taking a day off each week, but it would probably be good to take a breather from it all and recharge and refocus, like you have! I’m only taking a break from running because my foot won’t let me do it! 🙁
    I’ll be at CVS with you for the candy!!

  • I’m pretty impressed you were able to take the rest week. I’ve taken two or three days off in a row, but that has been my max. I think it was a wise choice on your part, though, and a model I should probably follow.
    More amusing: I did the daily gelato/sangria combo when I studied in Madrid. Thus developed the Espana 10. Worth every booze-soaked pound.

  • That’s so funny—I made that banana ice cream the other night too! I was too lazy to go buy real ice cream at the store…

  • I totally understand how you feel about resting. i rested 2 days and felt off my game.
    And Justins almond butter is amazing! I here the chocolate flavors have hit NYC

  • Dani Sturtz

    I hate rest weeks and I always feel the same way! Although for me it’s been 6 weeks due to my broken fibula 🙁 I’m almost in the clear! Miss running with you!

  • Those are great race photos!

    I’m in total agreement- food tastes so much better when I’m consistently working out. Running revs my appetite, and it’s no fun to eat when I’m not hungry!

  • Ellen

    Totally agree about eating when you’re not hungry…there is NOTHING fun about it. I just munched on Tositito chips even though I already had dinner and I didn’t even want them! hate that. Time to brush my teeth before I take a peek inside the freezer!

    Ohh and my candy preferences really aren’t seasonal–I don’t discriminate when it comes to sweets. Although, I had some sour Skittles for the first time in a long time the other day, and they were SO good!

    http://www.firednfabulous.blogspot.com/

  • …maybe that’s why all I do is eat and snack…and eat nut butters…unfortunately it’s not a “planned” rest – it just seems my body and mind won’t have it – blahs.

    Anyhow – love your posts as usual 🙂

  • I totally know how you feel about taking the rest and being restless! Getting pregnant totally forced me to rest for a while. Now that I’m back to running life is so much better! I know that it won’t be long til I’ll be too big to run but until then I’m going to keep at it!

  • I always get so antsy on rest weeks/days! I know that I need them (mega injury prone over here!) but that doesn’t make it easy! Thanks for reminding me that I’m a week behind on Gossip Girl!

  • I definitely agree with all your observations from your rest week! I am not really one to rest but sometimes it just naturally happens because life or injury gets in the way. When it does, I feel totally off! Like you said, eating, routine, time management, sleeping, everything! Probably the worst part is just feeling tired and cranky all day.

  • It was so great seeing your smiling face today! I agree with your rest week observations. I’d be curious what your method of hydration is during long runs. I’ve considered getting the camel back Kath and others are using. Thoughts? I also love that your 15k time is only a few minutes off my 10k time:)

  • I’m the queen of rest days (even when I should actually be working out more, heh). Though, I do believe that rest days are important to improve one’s overall fitness and prevent muscle fatigue.

    Like you, though, if I go to long without some form of exercise or running I get seriously “blah” and unmotivated.

  • Jesse

    I’m not a long-distance runner, but my profession sometimes feels like it (I’m a trumpet player) and I have some of the same experiences with time off cause me to loose some strength and skill. There’s a saying from a famous trumpet player: “If I take one day off I know it, if I take two days off my wife knows it, and if I take three days off the whole world knows it.” I definitely get off my game when I take too many days off.

    Glad to see you got the pickles! Hope you enjoy them!

  • I’m with you…I get super cranky, lethargic and just not “all there” when I take time off from exercising. I don’t feel healthy either.