I survived a week of "prehab not rehab"

prehab not rehab at MasteringRunning.com

Sometimes, it takes more discipline to hold back than to run. This week, it took all of my discipline to hold back and run much lower mileage. My week of "prehab not rehab" is over. (Spoiler alert: I think I am going to do another one. I'll explain why in a sec...)

So, was it hard not to run?

Yes and no. I usually run in the morning before work, so I enjoyed sleeping in most days, especially since the weather took a turn for the colder. But I'm not going to lie: the anxiety about not running was there, however irrational (emotions are not rational). I worried about losing my hard-won fitness (not possible in one week, BTW), and about how I would feel going back to higher mileage after not running much. 

Conversely, I thought a lot about how good this super light week was for my body. I visualized my running muscles resting and repairing themselves. I visualized my gastrocnemius blowing me kisses.

Here's how my "prehab not rehab" week of workouts shook out.

 Last week's Training Peaks log

Last week's Training Peaks log


  • Rest day. I had run 12.59 miles on Saturday and then ran 8.5 on hilly gravel trails with my friend Sloan, faster than I had anticipated. So I decided to take the day off.


  • Elliptical work, 15 minutes of intervals, 2 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
  • Spinning bike, 15 minutes of medium effort
  • Strength training, 30 minutes – core, wobble board, body weight work


  • 3-mile run at 8:09 pace, My legs felt SO tired, even after 2 days off from running, which underscored why this low mile/effort week is so important.


  • Spinning class, 50-minutes, pushed myself very hard, especially on the climbs
  • Core work, 10 minutes
 Tempo run stats

Tempo run stats


  • 4-mile tempo run. Great run! My legs had been feeling so sluggish that I was not sure if I'd be able to sustain a tempo effort. My goal was to run tempo for 2 miles, but I ended up doing a 4-mile tempo run, average page 7:37. Splits were 8:15, 7:18, 7:15, and 7:38.
  • Zumba class at my gym: I Love Latin, African and Brazilian music and dance, and it was fun to just let loose and move to the music. I really enjoy Zumba and should try to take classes more often. It's a zone 1 workout for me, and it's just mind-erasing.


  • 10-mile long run at 8:36 pace. Freezing cold out. I felt good – much better than during last week's long run. The cold was a shock to the system, though.


  • Strength training, 30 minutes – core, wobble board, body weight work
  • Elliptical, 15 minutes, medium intensity
  • Tao Yin "Yoga" – 75 minutes. This class was way out of my comfort zone, and ended up causing me serious DOMS today. I assumed (incorrectly) from reading the description that it was a simple yin yoga class, in which you hold the poses for a long time. I thought this would be good for my flexibility. It ended up not being yoga at all, it was more like gigong, which I had never done before (and frankly had no interest in) with some strength work. It was a very slow moving class, and the exercises concentrated on form and were excruciatingly hard to do; they actually made me feel a bit nauseous. To make matters worse, the heat in the yoga room was not working, and I wore a camisole and capri so I froze the entire class. 

Mileage-wise, I ended up only running 17 miles. 4 of those miles were fast – a little more than 25%. The rest were slow and easy. This was enough, I think, to keep my legs snappy while still giving my body the rest it needs. 

Some observations on perceived exertion

 Apparently, my body is telling me I need even more rest. 

Apparently, my body is telling me I need even more rest. 

When I am running, as a 51-year-old woman, my heart rate has to get up into the 140s for me to feel like I am breathing heavily, 150s for me to feel like I am working hard, and 160s to feel like I'm going to bonk at any second,  The funny thing is, on machines like the elliptical or the spinning bike, when my heart rate is in the high 120s, I feel like I am breathing heavily, working hard, and am about to die. But by contrast, I'm still in zone 1, easy effort workouts! Go figure. Just makes you realize how much of overcoming barriers is mental.

Another light week ahead

The unfortunate irony is that, after this "light" week, I came down with a head cold.  Nothing major but I woke up this morning congested. I guess my immune system was compromised after a hard season. I took a sick day today and downed mega doses of Emergen-C Immune Support, so I'm sure I'll bounce right back. I guess my body is demanding even more rest, so I think I'll take another light week this week.

What do you do on a light week?