It's a question that's plagued runners and other exercise enthusiasts for years: Am I really too exhausted to workout or am I just being lazy?
It's hard enough for athletes to skip workouts when they're truly sick, injured, or exhausted. So it makes sense that most of us wouldn't want to miss a training session when we have a case of the yawns.
I'm not talking about body fatigue. If you ache all over, cringe every time you move, and cry when you walk up the stairs, take a rest day. Chances are you need it. Body exhaustion was what clued me into my overtraining last summer.
I'm talking about that "I would much rather lay on the couch and watch Glee than run" feeling.
This is exactly how I felt yesterday. I told myself all day I'd run 6 miles after work. But 5 pm came and I had zero motivation. I really couldn't figure out if I was being lazy or really was too tired to workout.
First, I tried bargaining with myself. This helps me tell if I'm just not excited about that day's planned exercise session. Just do half of the run. Swim instead. Go to yoga. None of those ideas sounded any more appealing though.
Then, I tried to assess whether or not I truly needed a day off.
- Have I been working out more than usual? No, less.
- Has it been a long time since my last rest day? Nope, I just took one last Friday and my yoga class yesterday was pretty low-key.
- Have I recently done a hard workout? Debatable. Lauren reminded me that our 10 miler on Saturday was my longest run in 5 weeks. I had been doing 7 and 8 miles regularly though, so I'm not sure that was the culprit.
- Was I getting enough sleep? Umm no. Due to fun plans all weekend, I totally skimped on sleep.
Bingo. Not logging enough shut-eye definitely calls for an extra day off from exercise, in my opinion. I made peace with my decision and was set on a night of catching up with my DVR. I just had to walk Nati first…
But, my 10 minute jaunt with the furball re-energized me. Before I knew it, I was heading to the gym. I knocked out 5 miles of intervals on the treadmill and enjoyed myself the whole time. I am so glad I decided not to skip the run!
This just reminds me that runs- and our bodies in general- are so unpredictable. And that I clearly have no clue how to tell the difference between tiredness and laziness.
But I know what I'm going to do next time the debate strikes: Lace up my sneakers, move for a few minutes, and see if that makes me feel better or not. Then, I may have my answer
How do you tell if you're being lazy or really need a rest day?