Hey. So if you’re anything like me, you thrive off of having a super busy schedule, love the challenge of hard work, and feel kinda weird and lost without structure and a plan. Sitting for too long makes you antsy and when you feel like you’re “not doing enough” or not challenging yourself in your running/fitness/job/school; you basically go crazy. Rest isn’t your thing. You’re an “early to rise and then do stuff non-stop all day and then crash really hard at 9pm” sort of human. Ya, same.
I recently challenged myself (and I mean CHALLENGED) to take some time off exercise (read more about that here) and am trying really hard to not be so stressed and hard on myself about not achieving things quickly or being busy at all times. Based on the response I got from the post It’s Ok to Quit Running, a lot of you feel the same way. You feel that if there’s any ounce of unused potential in your body to do MORE and be BETTER… you MUST. YOU JUST MUST.
Even in the face of exhaustion.. you prevail. Not because you want to punish yourself, but because you truly love it. And so it’s hard to let go of the ideal version of yourself that you’ve created in your head and just be a normal.
But here’s the thing. You can’t sustain this level of frantic activity forever. 5am alarm clocks are ok in moderation. Hard workouts are ok, but not everyday. Being ambitious is ok, as long as it’s healthy and you know when to turn it off.
The inability to rest and celebrate the things you’ve accomplished with this hard work… that’s what will make you tired. Tired and really sad that you can’t accomplish everything you want. Because you won’t.
You’ll work really hard and accomplish A LOT by any normal person’ standards, but you’ll still want more. Your insatiable ambition will demand harder work and longer hours and more challenging workouts. It’s how we get better, but at some point it’s also how we forget how to appreciate the value of slowing down.
Are you a runner that ends each race by thinking of what you could’ve done better? Or examining in which ways you went wrong in the race or days/weeks/months leading up to the race? Never feeling satisfied with the time you ran? Like even if you won the Olympics you’d still be unsatisfied with the fact that you didn’t break the world record?
Ya, we’re those types of people. I’m currently fighting with the urge to run. The guilt of not working full time so I can take classes and then apply to graduate school. Telling myself that I’m lazy because there are lots of people that work full time and take classes. But I’m just learning to be ok with imperfection and learning that it’s ok to rest. Ambition will always be there, but there’s a fine line between being ambitious and just straight up neurotic.
If you need to be reminded of the importance of rest and recovery for runners: