After running at least 20 miles a week (more leading up to events) for most of this year and the year before i guess i would say im kind of an addict, more than a day not running and i get the anxious/itchy feet feeling and i end up a bit of a grump i have to say. So just before Christmas, after a busy year at work, the wife and I took the kids on a short break to Disneyland Paris. Having never been in the past I wasn't sure what to expect (apart from Mickey and Minnie obviously). Before we went I wasn't sure whether or not I'd get to go out for a run. To make sure this did not become an issue while we were there I decided before hand that I would take a full week off (this ended up being 9 days with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
It (to my surprise) worked out better than I expected. I could focus completely on the boys and the missus, because of this Jenny was happy and the break was all the more enjoyable. Sure I missed it like i knew i would, but as I had decided before we got there the burning/empty feeling never had a chance to fully develop into a full on grump (which normally comes when I don't manage to get out as mentioned above, hence the Grumpy mug below, bought while we were there :-))
I also had a few minor niggles, the kind which wouldn't have stopped me training but a week off would only be of benefit to them. I accepted there would be several impacts: 1) a loss of some cardio-vascular fitness (running efficiency), 2) a loss of some muscular strength and 3) Weight gain. The first two are systems in your body are impacted by the time you take off running, the third is effected by diet (more on this below).
The 4 days at Disneyland were amazing I have to say, and very tiring. Jimmy our eldest was buzzing from the minute we got on the Eurostar to the minute we got off it on the return journey, Tommy our youngest (9 months) was obviously too young but was a smily happy baby most of the time.
The main problem wasn't the lack of running to be honest, that i could deal with, it was the complete lack of places to get proper food. It was mostly American rubbish, with only slightly smaller portions. To minimise the diet effect (as mentioned above) i opted for the best food possible staying away from the burgers and opting for the pastas and Mexican.
Now we are back (post Christmas) it's time to resume training, along with a bit of 'hydrating' and 'refuelling' as well , seen as though it is Christmas!
So Boxing Day was the first run back after just over a week, and it was great, a fairly hilly 8ish mile road run around the hills of Saddleworth, all the niggles had gone and I didn't feel like I had lost much fitness, all subsequent runs have been the same, feeling as strong as before the break. I should hit my target mileage (25) for this week with a rest day (core/strength work) then a long trail/technical run planned for Sunday morning, detailed below with a few photos from the route.
chris249's Trail running Move 12/31/2012 - Move at Movescount.com
The long runs are what i look forward to in the week, the more time i can free the longer ill go for, the passage below borrowed from a running site explains perfectly the draw of such long runs and events.
'The athletes entire conscious experience of reality boils down to a desire to continue pitted against a desire to quit. Nothing else remains. The athlete is no longer a student or a teacher or a salesman. He is no longer a son or a father or a husband. He has no social roles or human connections whatsoever. He is utterly alone. He no longer has any possessions. There is no yesterday and no tomorrow, only now. The agony of extreme endurance fatigue crowds out every thought and feeling except one: the goal of reaching the finish line.'
So my concern of taking a week + off from running was that i thought i may lose the fitness gains i had seen on the run up to the holiday. The losses i have felt have been negligible, whereas i believe the benefits outweigh any losses in fitness . Firstly i could involve myself fully in the holiday with no distractions and also I now feel better, stronger and more motivated ready for next years training and events/races. The body periodically needs a week off, so i will allow myself this luxury (im sure cross training will substitute the doing nothing though).
Im now looking forward to next year, first thing on the agenda is a few training runs from the programme followed by the first Lakeland 100 recce of the year (www.lakeland100.com), which is Coniston to Buttermere on Sunday 13th Jan which is approximately 25 miles of the 100 route that i will be doing in July, ill post about the recce when done. Below is a route map of the L100 (Coniston to Buttermere being numbers 1 - 4).