How Long Should You Take Off After a Race?

My plan after Boston was that I was going to so thoroughly cripple myself by finishing, and I had so thoroughly crippled my will to workout through hours of water running and Alter-Ging, that I would do nothing but lay on the couch for at least two weeks. I had/have no plans for the rest of the year and a good rule of thumb is to not make any in the immediate aftermath of a race (even if you don’t finish said race).

That’s more or less worked.

I had no desire to do anything while we were still in Boston. Once I got back, I managed a 30′ swim on Friday and went to a Crossfit class on Saturday (which yes, I do think is stupid, but also sort of funny) and then yesterday I had plans to go for a longer run. But, newsflash: I still don’t know what to do about my foot. It hurts but it doesn’t hurt. I may need to take time off or I may need to get surgery to shave down a bone spur. I don’t know. I would venture to guess that the doctors don’t either.

So, instead, after watching like three hours of Gilmore Girls and putting away all the clean dishes and laundry, I went for a mountain bike ride. That turned out to be a terrible idea. Because it turned out to be crazy hot yesterday and it turned out I was pretty tired still and it turned out my mind was in a lot of other places and it turned out my new contacts were going all blurry in my eyes and it may have turned out I got back on the horse too quickly, so to speak. And, when all that comes together, you know what you really shouldn’t do? SOMETHING THAT REQUIRES TECHNICAL SKILL AND FOCUS.

After the fifth time running straight into something that I really shouldn’t have run into — like a post on the side of a footbridge — I realized I needed to get off the trail. I was totally a hazard to myself and others.

I’m a big believer in taking serious time off after burning all your matches and not making plans or getting back into training until you really want to again, until you’re so antsy that you can’t not. At the end of 2011, that took like three or four months for me and then it was a whole lower level of “training” I came back to. If you have a full season of races and are a super-serious athlete, obviously that usually just means a couple days off after the big ones and active recovery and staying focused on the long-term. But, when that seasons over, it’s really over.

This time, though, I figured I only ran 10.5 miles and I figured I didn’t need to recover that much from that and I figured I wanted to capitalize on my fitness before my foot started hurting. So, Friday, I made a whole list of all the races coming up and possible plans and marathons I could run in late June or late — but not when we’re in Hawaii. (Because of the stupid America’s Cup, there’s not many in the San Francisco area.) I got all geared back up to go.

But, it may have been too soon, because man, I am not going anywhere quickly.

4 thoughts on “How Long Should You Take Off After a Race?

  1. I think it is great that you are being mindful about how you are feeling. If you need a break, take one… especially because of all of the trauma that you went through at Boston. 🙂

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