I hate rest days.
My rest days usually fall on Saturday after my Friday morning long run. It works well as I have to work most of Saturday, so going for a run isn’t very feasible anyways. Even though I’m not just lying on the couch eating Kale Chips and watching Game of Thrones, I still feel…unaccomplished. Lazy. And when those feelings arise, I tend to lose touch with myself fully, I become slightly disconnected. When this happens, I eat more than I’m hungry for, sleep more than is productive, have less energy than I usually do. It’s because going for a run is my chance to connect with myself and tune in, and then those good practices and habits fall into place afterwards.
There is definitely a correlation between going for a really hard, challenging run and having a kick-butt day for me. One can get into all of the “rise in neurotransmitters” or “metabolic producing hormones” (which I just made up) or “anti-inertiatic diplomacy” (again, made up), but it can just be summed up in the like: most times you gotta suffer a bit to ball a lot.
You are welcome to use that if you want, it’s public domain here.
So, as a general rule, if there is an opportunity to go for a run I am going to take it, because I know how wonderful it feels afterwards. Because I have shown myself and told myself and reinforced for myself the rewards of discipline.
Discipline looks like making yourself go for a run after work when it’s 100000% Kansan humidity despite having steamed milk chunked on your elbows from pouring lattes all day, right?
Discipline is saying no to hanging out with your friends after work because you have your long run scheduled for the next morning, right?
Discipline is denying yourself a third helping of campfire s’mores because you know that it’ll just slow you down for the next day, right?
…not no, but definitely not always.
During my last long run, after much musing (because there’s not a whole lot else to do) I realized something important: in a way, it can take discipline to say no to running after a long shift. It can take discipline to hang out with your friends until the wee hours of the morning when you know that you have a long run in the morning. Not sure that discipline really applies alllll that much to the s’mores example, but the basic principle is still present.
It is acknowledging the consequences of an action and then making an informed decision that will benefit you in someway, whether it be the harder choice to make or not, that the practice of discipline enforces.
It actually can take discipline to not go for a run after work. Let me explain:
I have found that the more time I take off between each run, the harder the next run will be. A Monday run will be much, much easier if I also have run on Sunday. But I also know that my body is unfortunately not infallible, and it needs rest and recovery. Ultimately, if I run every single day, it’s going to decrease my pace times and my performance simply because my body needs time off to rebuild.
I know that by taking this run off, the next one will be harder. I have acknowledged the consequences of my actions and have concluded that it will benefit me more to take a rest day because my body will be able to rebuild even though my next run will be a bit sluggish.
The morning long run will be easier if I go to bed earlier. For me, the “easy way” is simply saying no to my pals and hitting the hay early. But by going through with hanging out with my buddies, I acknowledge that I’m going to have to work a bit harder in the morning. But I am also going to improve my social intelligence and happiness levels. It is more important to me to have strong friendships than a really easy morning long run. So I guess discipline also revolves around prioritization.
I think there are many, many possible outlooks for discipline. This pressure on what it really means to be disciplined is not an excuse, however. I can’t tell myself, “Oh, I’m going to skip this run for the third day in a row because I’m disciplining myself to hang out with my friends”; I’m more posing the idea that one shouldn’t beat oneself up for “not having discipline”, because discipline can be found in a variety of things.
Acknowledge the consequences of the action and also what it takes to choose either option
Select which option houses the most benefit, whether that choice be the “easier” or “harder” to make
3. Stop beating yourself up because discipline is not everything.
Maybe this entire post is heresy and I’ve got it all wrong. But I love placing pressure on societal norms and perspectives, so here ya go.
Peace and Blessings,