Running and Rest

A photo taken by a potato of me on the treadmill. I was actually on my cool-down when I took this which is why the photo is a bit blurry. Ok, a lot blurry.

I’m a little older than your average health blogger: I’m 51. I didn’t start on my healthy lifestyle journey until I was 48, and at the outset, I knew I couldn’t play by the younger people rules when it came to exercise. I have done a pretty good job of minimizing injuries by taking a day of rest between my run days, and it’s worked pretty well. The only time I have run afoul of this plan has been any time the National Guard has required me to run day after day. That’s when my body quickly starts to show its age, and I sustain injuries. Unfortunately for me, I was reminded of this yesterday when I decided to run the day after a good run day.

Now, before I go much further, I want to state that my goal is to run 5 days a week. For the past three years, I’ve run a day and then took a rest day, but I want to take my running and health to a better level, so I’ve begun daily, or almost daily runs. My running yesterday was possibly a bit premature, as I was off from running all last week, and I should have taken a day off and then done a two-day cycle followed by another day off followed by a three-day cycle. But no, I went right into it and now my right knee is sore.

I knew yesterday that I wouldn’t be able to run tonight. I’m going to the shooting range with my friend Steve, and there won’t be an opportunity for me to run, so I figured I’d put in an easy-ish 2 mile run. That two mile run turned out to be a much more difficult and painful experience than I had anticipated, but to be fair, once I got past the first half mile, the pain subsided and didn’t return until I was sitting at a table after dinner and tweaked my right knee. Now, it’s tender and I’m being very careful, but it is definitely sore.

Am I injured or just hurt? Well, I think I’m hurt. I think my knee is not used to the amount of running I’ve done in the past two days, and I think it’s just some minor pain from exerting more than usual. It doesn’t feel like I’ve injured anything which would make the knee hurt regardless of what I’m doing. Right now, as I am sitting here writing this article, there is no pain at all. If my knee were injured, I’d feel it.

Rest is a very important component of exercise. Most people tend to overlook it much as they overlook sleep’s importance in weight loss. Perhaps my goal of running 5 times a week is aggressive or not possible, but I’m going to keep trying for a while. I am taking off today and tomorrow from running, and I’ll likely put in a slow-ish three mile run on Saturday, take Sunday off again, and then hit the treadmill on Monday. I’ll report back then on how my knee is doing.

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