So three days after I was feeling a bit sluggish during my long run, I went out this morning for an 11.5-miler and felt the best I have in weeks -- heck, in months. I had to hold myself back from going way too fast. As it was, I was eight seconds below marathon pace for the whole run, 12 seconds the last five miles.
All I can think is that I took a rest day on Tuesday.
By rest day, I mean that I did nothing. No cross training via swimming or cycling. No core exercises, even. I found myself sitting on my gluteus most of the day at work on Tuesday, as well.
Normally, on the two days a week I don't run, I do significant cross training to keep the muscles loose and add some fitness. (I've found swimming about a mile in the pool a great off-day activity; I even swim on the nights after medium to long runs to loosen up.) But yesterday, I vegged out. Maybe I sensed I was pushing my 49-year-old legs with these mileage weeks in the upper 50s.
Whatever the cause, I thoroughly enjoyed today's run. The stiffness in the Monday recovery run was gone, as was the sluggishness.
But enough about me. Read this blog entry in Running Times magazine by Sally Meyerhoff (U.S. 25K champion) about rest.