Sometimes we become so consumed within training and racing, that we find it difficult to switch off. I for one, find myself becoming stressed if I deny myself downtime, which results in me overthinking everything without even realising ! I may think I am coping fine and am very relaxed, when in fact I am not. It is not until I take a trip home and am able to have some downtime that I realise how much I genuinely needed it.
It can be difficult to tell when some downtime is needed. Sometimes the signs may be physical; we may feel lethargic, have heavy legs, and start to feel overly tired whilst training. This is usually a sign we need to allow ourselves a break. For me, when I would become stressed my body would not receive the recovery it needed. Therefore, I would go into a new training session feeling as tired as I did in the one before. This was not conductive to my training; I needed a brief bout of downtime to recharge and refuel, to allow my body to get going again. Sometimes it takes your body to shout at you, for you to realise you need some downtime.
Additionally, the signs may be psychological. I become aware of my need to have some downtime when I begin to worry excessively. I am naturally a worrier, so a little bit of worrying is normal for me! If I wasn’t worrying, I would worry something was wrong! (If that’s possible!). But, when I find myself overthinking and worrying about petty, insignificant things, I know I need some downtime to take my mind away from them. I also begin to overthink what others may be thinking about me, overthink what I’m saying, and over think what I’m doing. This doesn’t help anyone, and it especially doesn’t help me. Therefore this is a major sign I need to allow myself some downtime.
Downtime for me, involves spending time with my family, walking the dogs, relaxing with my boyfriend, or simply reading a book. It is so important for everyone to find something outside of running that allows them to unwind and relax. You need these ‘destressors’ in order to benefit your training. A bit of time to take your mind away from training and racing can be very beneficial to your performance!
So, what does downtime mean to you? And how do you take your mind away from the stresses of the present?
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!