The last thing you want to have happen when you are finding your mojo is to be sidelined because of issues with your tissues. When I was younger, I always thought stretching was a waste of time and rest days were for “sissies.” Learning to listen to my body, stretching, resting, and recovering is just as important as training.
I see this time and again with my mamas. Suzy is another classic example. She fell in love with bootcamp! She went from a life as a couch potato to training hard daily and rocking and rolling her mojo. Suzy had a clear goal and was focused on the prize. After a while, Suzy started having issues with her tissues, but continued to push through, not listening to her body. Her muscles were tight in her legs and lower back. Specifically, her knees were bothering her. Thinking “no pain; no gain” and not wanting to appear “whiny,” she did not talk to her coach and continued to train. In essence, Suzy was overtraining by not taking time for recovery and stretching.
One day on a long run, she felt a “pop” in her knee. Fortunately for Suzy, her doctor diagnosed a stressed IT (Iliotibial) band and she was only sidelined for a few weeks. The last place she ever wanted to be was back on the couch, especially after finding her mojo. Had Suzy known that recovery and stretching is just as important as training, she could have avoided the injury and her downtime.
If you experience one or more of these signs, you should allow time in your schedule for some R & R (rest and recovery). Minimally, you should take one day a week off to refresh your body and your mind. This includes adequate sleep (Challenge No. 34), hydration (Challenge No. 26), and stellar nutrition (see challenges in March, June, September).
Stretching is just as important as exercise. It improves your flexibility, your posture, and your blood flow. Increased blood and nutrient supply to muscle reduces soreness and increases your recovery. The bottom line is to use stretching to unwind your muscles for 10 minutes daily.