One of the most important aspects of racing and training for me is my recovery. While I’m not injury prone, I do tend to get VERY, VERY tired. While I have known this about myself since my early years of racing at the University of Tennessee, I haven’t always listened to my body.

Always wanting to impress the coach, wanting to be the best or fastest, I strived to follow “the program” until I would drop dead of exhaustion or half dead from being sick. I am most vulnerable to the fatigue, when I am doing lots of quality and lots of volume. While taking ice baths and using my NORMA TEC MVP Boots is imperative for recovery and injury prevention, the most important thing for me to do is to take a few days easy…or even…gasp…take one (or 3) day off!!

Here are the 10 KEY signs that I look for when I think need a day off:

1. I don’t feel like walking my dogs. I love my dogs…a lot. But when I am tired, the thought of taking them outside makes me want to vomit.

2. I don’t feel good after the first 30 minutes of training. Sometimes a good warm is all that I need to feel happy, alive, and fast. However, if I still do not feel good after the first interval, I know that I am headed toward the path of anger and destruction.

3. I sleep A LOT!!: When I am ready for a little mini break, I can take 2hr naps after ingesting 1000mg of caffeine…yes, that is a lot of coffee and pre-race all in the same day.

4. I know I am ready for a mini break when I have to use “pre-race” 3 days in a row. Pre-Race is powerful stuff. If I feel the need to use it more than once in a week, I know I am heading over the edge of a cliff.

5. My house looks like a tornado has hit. I hate having an untidy house. My house is a wreck when I am really tired.

6. I nix my social life. The last thing that I want to do is be social with people if I am overly tired. The thought of having dinner with friends makes me poke my eyes out with forks.

7. I crave lots of crap food. I am a pretty healthy eater. I enjoy eating fruits and veggies. However, when the fatigue hits, I crave cadbury creme eggs and chocolate bunnies!

8. Looking at my training gear and attire make me dizzy. I know I am a hot mess when the thought of going for a run or ride makes me sick. While swimming always makes me dizzy, I love to run and I love to ride my bike.

9. I cry for no reason at all: If I break out with a river of tears while watching SURVIVOR, it’s time for a mini break.

10. I am angry and feel violent! When I say that I am angry, I am not kidding!!! I am angry at my dogs, I am angry at the neighbors cat, I am angry at my friends, I am angry at my cute husband, and I am most angry when my husband asks me if I am angry! I usually try to stay away from people when I am angry as getting violent usually goes together with being angry.
(If I get to this point, I need 3 days off…maybe 5 days off…)

I have come to realize that if I have 3 of the above symptoms, I need at least one day off.
If I have 5 of the above symptoms, I need two days off.
If I have 7 or more of the above symptoms, I take 3 days off.

However, after the past year and a half with Cliff, we have worked hard to figure out when the breaks are needed before the fatigue hits. We now incorporate mini breaks in the training before I get to any of the above stages.

So far, so good…for the most part…