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2013-11-16 8:19 AM

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Subject: Week of rest, tell me your success stories

After 20 + years of regular daily exercise and 5 years of triathlon training I have decided I need a real rest. The most I have ever rested in a row is 2 days in over 20 years. I don't do a lot of super heavy volume or long workouts but I manage something almost every day.

The main reason for my rest break is a tender area in my groin which I think could be on it's way to a groin strain. I have a hip that does not stay where it should and I got carried away in the pool with a flip turn last month. I felt something in my SI joint sort of "catch" but pressed on. It didn't cause intense pain, just felt like I could shake it back into place but I have not felt right since. I went to the chiro and have had my hip put back. I started to try some strength exercises on my fitness ball and rolled the area on a foam roller but that seemed to cause more tenderness and soreness. As of today I already have no pain or tenderness when I poke around in the area so I think I am on the right track but of course I am already thinking I could do an easy ride on the trainer or something!

This is going to be a bigger challenge for me than any workout for sure. Has anyone else taken a fitness break and if so I'd love to hear stories of how wonderful you felt after .

2013-11-16 4:00 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Week of rest, tell me your success stories
I've only taken breaks when I've had to for injury. Even then, as soon as I could get back to some activity that didn't bother it, I was back.

I don't think there's any benefit to a "fitness" break though. I have never felt that "come back better than you started" feeling and I think that only happens if you have gotten yourself overtrained. During a break you lose fitness about twice as fast as you gain it, so it takes a while to get back to where you were once you start back up (while you are also trying to protect yourself from re-injury).

Sorry that's probably not what you wanted to hear, but in my opinion, training breaks suck. I have learned to be patient, though. I'm back to happily training now and hope I never have to take another real break.

ETA: If you are really only talking about a week of rest, I don't think you'll notice any difference fitness-wise, but it might be enough to rest your injury before you gently restart.

Edited by jennifer_runs 2013-11-16 4:07 PM
2013-11-16 9:01 PM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Week of rest, tell me your success stories

I pretty well brutalized myself overtraining for Boston, and ultimately needed to take 2 complete weeks off of everything this spring, and then a few months off of running (although I continued with swimming and then swim/bike).

While there are always therapies to help overcome injuries, more often than not, rest (and light cross training -I believe in keeping moving if possible) is a pretty good way to heal.  So, in all likelihood, rest will do you good.  Some injuries feel better in days, others weeks, and in my case, it really took a bunch of months.  I missed Boston and the bulk of this year's tri season.  ugh.  There were a few months there that I never thought I'd run again. Good news is, I've been able to bring back my training and now feel great.  

But - you wanted to hear about what happens when you stop.  For me:  I got pretty depressed and unhappy- and I don't tend towards depression, or unhappiness.  It was like I was going through happy drug withdrawal.  So, keep that in mind.

From a fitness and recovery standpoint, taking a week off will do you good.  I'd suggest finding some other fitness outlet that doesn't stress your injury.  Swim? 

2013-11-17 4:16 AM
in reply to: morey000

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Saigon, Vietnam
Subject: RE: Week of rest, tell me your success stories
Wow--no more than two days off in 20 years! I think you're entitled to a rest, and with that kind of base, you're not going to see any appreciable fitness loss in a week or so. Several times before a race I've gotten sick or had to deal with overwhelming work/family commitments and done basically no training the week prior, and the race has turned out fine. It's what you do over weeks, months, and years that matters, not really what you've done in the past seven days. It also isn't uncommon for me to take a week or even more off from one, two, or even all three sports when I'm traveling. My vacations are generally active, but if I'm bike touring, for example, I run very little or not at all. If it's a kayak trip or trek, I might not run/bike/swim at all for a week. I've never noticed any major loss of fitness when I got back to training after an active week's break, beyond maybe feeling a bit awkward for the first day or two back in the pool. Probably not what the pros would do, but I feel the breaks keep me healthy and motivated.

Last summer I was in Europe for almost four weeks. During that time, despite great intentions, I did zero swim, bike, or run speedwork (only riding at Mom's roughly 10 mph pace on a fully-loaded touring bike), seven or eight easy runs, a few hotel pool swims, and three leisurely open-water swims (more like swim tourism). I did a sprint tri a week after returning and my swim and run were close to PB pace (at a spring tri when I'm training quite intensely), and the bike about 1.5-2 mph off (but on a rolling course, the course for my PB totally flat). At least for the shorter distance, I didn't feel any worse than usual during the race. I didn't seem to have lost much fitness at all despite four weeks of very light "training" and about five pounds of weight gain from all that pasta, wine, and gelato. So maybe training is overrated? More likely I tend to overtrain--doubt I'm the only one!

If the break is longer than a week or two, though, I would consult a PT about strategies other than rest that might heal/prevent the injury,and get advice on what alternative activities could help you maintain fitness without aggravating it..
2013-11-17 7:00 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Week of rest, tell me your success stories

Thanks for the replies!

Yes, 20 years. Before tri training I would alternate days of strength training or yoga or hiking with s/b/r but yes - always something. My kids are adopted so with each of them I allowed myself this window of 2 days to get in the groove but then that was it - on the treadmill after that. My Dad was in the hospital several years ago for an extended period of time and when I would go to visit I would sit with him then go walk the stairs for 20 min intervals throughout the day. On our Disney vacation a couple of years ago I packed my bike and trainer. Not normal .

I will go to the doc if I can't get back on track after this but I already know if I go now they are going to tell me to rest and take NASIDS so I might as well just do it now. I went to the Chiro and had them adjust my hip so that is taken care of. Now I'm just waiting. My plan is these days off, then a massage, then start back with 30 min of easy s/b/or run a day for an additional week and see how it goes. It already feels much better and if I did not have this plan I'm sure I'd be back at it again already!

Morey, the mood thing is what has kept me exercising consistently for so many years. So yes, I can feel that low point coming in the afternoons like I'm just blah, flat. I did some upper body and ab strength training yesterday so that got me through. I'm glad to hear you've been able to come back 100%!

So far I'm doing o.k. with it because I feel a little better every day but if I get back to it and still have issues, then I will be pretty frustrated. But this is a good time of year to take a break. The weather is nasty, the days are short and I have no race plans at the moment.

2013-11-17 7:10 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Saigon, Vietnam
Subject: RE: Week of rest, tell me your success stories
You sound like me--my issue is that I can't sleep unless I do something physical, preferably a lot of it. Been this way since childhood. It's not a neurotic thing--I'm just so high-energy that I have to burn it off, and if I don't I lie awake half the night. Guess I am descended from manual laborers or peasant farmers or something. Mom is the same way, even at 75. Our vacations would kill most people. Our solution for when we can't exercise--house-cleaning and yard work, or "projects". You can tell if I'm seriously tapering as my usually messy apt. is spotless. Just be sure not to injure something else in the process.

2013-11-17 8:48 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Week of rest, tell me your success stories

Oh now that is funny - my mother is the same way. She swims laps, takes water aerobics, walks 4 miles a day. On vacations she would rather wash windows in the condo then sit and relax.

There are lots of good things about taking a break and the biggest is I have better control of my eating habits. I don't have the sugar cravings like I usually do and so I've quit sweets all together and feel much better. I also have the time to think about & prepare healthy choices instead of just shoving the first thing down my throat because I am starving and short on time.

You like how I am trying to find the bright side .

2013-11-17 8:54 AM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Week of rest, tell me your success stories

It is very good for your body and your mind to take a block of time off at the end of the season. It can be a mental challenge to do so but long term it is very good for you.

When it was first suggested for me to take a rest break, I fought and didn't want to do it. After doing it one year I looked forward to doing it each subsequent year.

It will be okay. Take more than a week off. Long term it will be better for you.

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