To Rest Or Not To Rest….

Today I am feeling something I haven’t felt since I was running. It is that dreaded internal conflict when you are sick or injured. That conflict between the needs and wants of your body and your mind.

So here’s the deal.

I am in the tail end of this pregnancy and getting nasty pains in the pelvis, hips and groin. They last for hours at a time and are responding less and less to panadol. Yesterday I got home from my walk and felt like I had pulled every muscle in my groin region. Despite feeling comfortable and pain-free walking it was clear an hour later that my pace must have stretched all my super relaxed (thanks relaxin) muscles a bit too much. Of course the obvious thing to do is rest and well lets face it I don’t have any exciting races or events (besides labour!) on the horizon so whats wrong with a bit of rest????

Well firstly the extra 9kgs I’m carrying is putting a lot of stress on the base of my spine and walking loosens it up and helps everything fall back in to place and structurally I feel “reset” every day from it. Mentally the walking gives me a high that gives my energy levels a boost. Which is very helpful because I can get through about 1/3 of what I use to so its nice to get little hits of energy where I can. When I walk I tend to always sleep better. Not to mention that staying active helps with all the other pregnancy stuff like water rentention and helping to stimulate labour etc.

So even though I ended up in excrutiating pain yesterday I still am not ready to give up on it. So first step today is to take a rest day and then tomorrow I am going to head out at an absolute “dawdle” of a pace and see how I feel after that.

But before I came up with this plan I spent the night in conflict. My Obstetrician told me yesterday that my walking might be contributing to my problems. All I want to do is the right thing by my body and if that is rest than so be it. But time and time again when I am in this situation I am not always convinced that rest is the best.

For example when I start to feel a little bit flu like but not yet overcome by it I find myself in this dilema. Of course if you ARE sick then you need to rest. Your body needs all your energy to repair and recover itself and stressing it physically is just crazy. But sometimes in those early stages before it has taken hold I feel like a good training session will help to “shake it”. By raising my core body temperature and by really getting my body switched on it might have a better chance of fighting it. It feels as though as soon as I stop I am going to get sick.

Another example is niggles. Not a full blown-injury because again anything but rest is stupid. At what point are you better resting and what point are you still better off running through and keeping good blood flow to the area and keeping all the surrounding muscles strong?

These are the dilemas that from time to time in my training I have faced and on some weird level am facing now. Do the benefits of continuing or continuing a modified program outweigh the benefits of all out rest. OR does rest now save weeks of half-arsed training and recovery later?????

There is so much information and so many guidelines out there. One that I have always followed when it comes to “colds” is if the symptoms are above your neck keep training but once its below you must rest.

This sounds like some good general advice. Obviously if its below your neck than its hit your respitory system and well training on an already compromised respitory system is not beneficial.

I think the answer to these tricky situations is very individual. Just like a training program. Some people can do 3-4 heavy days per week and some can only do 2. Some people can train through low level of stress and illness and some need to rest.

So this year I am going to try to log in my training diary my health and well-being and see if I can get in tune with my body’s well-being. Rather than feel conflicted by general information I am going to tailor make my rules for rest and recovery based on my bodys history to stresses of illness and injury.

Hopefully what I learn will help me to make good training decisions for many years to come.

So with that in mind I am not going to stress about “to rest or not to rest” I am going to do my own gentle trial and error of activity to keep as active as I can all whilst doing the best thing for my number 1 goal – bringing a healthy baby into this world.