How do you know when it is time to take a break from running?
The other day I was having a conversation about running marathons and I realized that I have been on a 3-year “break” from running. Not a complete break, but I have been running for fun- and only for fun- for the past few years. I am planning on doing some races in the fall, but it is only because of this extended break that I am now able to think about racing again.
I did my first marathon when I was 21 years old. It was the last few months of my senior year in college and it was really a life changing experience. I always loved running, and races gave me structure and motivation to become a better and more athletic runner.
Between the ages of 22-24 I did two more marathons and countless shorter races. My 5k time was better than it was during my high school cross-country days and I loved getting faster and faster and faster.
And then the injuries started. I got an overuse injury in my lower leg that persisted for about 6 months before it was finally healed. Two months into the injury I ran a trail marathon. Four months into the injury I did a sprint triathlon to qualify for the Escape to Alcatraz race in San Francisco. Finally the pain got so bad that I was forced to not do the San Francisco triathlon and I was ready to stop competing all together.
I recently heard a quote that will probably stay with me forever. “You should always leave the party when you are having the best time.”
Looking back, I realize that this would have been great advice for me a few years ago. I was getting to the point where running was getting too intense to be fun. When you stay too serious and regimented about something for too long, it steals the joy from the activity. You know you have really lost the joy in an activity when you continue to do it even when you are injured!!! The desire to “push-through” and achieve your goals should never be stronger than the desire to honor your body.
I love drinking warm lemon water in the mornings before or instead of drinking coffee. It is hydrating and my body feels better when I drink more water and less caffeine. Many people recommend things like lemon water and juice cleanses to “detox” your body. This is a post about the Drink. Run. Love. take on detox drinks and cleanses. This is a polarizing topic in the health and fitness world and I want to share what works for me.
On Lemon Water
Although I do like to drink lemon water, I realize that the extent to which it actually improves health is often times overstated. I really like the explanation in this Shape Magazine article. Basically, lemons have Vitamin C and an antioxidant called d-limonene that activates the liver enzymes responsible for filtering toxins from the body. Vitamin C obviously has many health benefits, but it is unlikely that lemon juice has enough d-limonene to affect the amount of toxins your liver will filter. My recommendation is to drink lemon water if you like it, but don’t count on it to “detox” whatever bad things you ate or drank that day. In other words, hydration is very important for overall health and lemon water can motivate you to stay hydrated if you enjoy the taste. However, if you eat a plate of fried food and drink a 6-pack of beer the night before, lemon water or any other detox drink will not remove all of those toxins from your body in the morning.
It is very sad that this beer is seasonal because it is amazing and would be great to drink any time of year. You are in luck IF you can still find Dogfish Head Aprihop! It is not too sweet for a fruit beer and not too hoppy for an IPA… which makes it a perfect combination for a late spring/early summer evening. This beer is the reason I learned to brew my own- I wanted to be able to make a similar beer all year long since Aprihop is only available in the spring.