Exercise Rest and Recovery and the mental mindset ..

Mange tout,

Well, here I sit after 24 hours of work in 48 hours and 2 days of physical rest from exercise. 15 hour days in total with getting up and showers and travel etc.

Hence I have been using these days as my recovery from my exercise? Why?

I have tracked over the last few weeks and months that my running and gym work is anything from 5 mins slower per run and can be 2- 8kg lighter in the weights when I am working the long 12 hour day and mid shifts.

I am usually up at 5 am and home anytime from 1930 to 22.30 hrs. So these days are plugged in as rest.


However, with this comes an issue for my mind and the inner voice or inner critic or inner advisor whatever you call him or her.

I hear myself so many times in the day thinking about what the phys is for the day. A feeling of disappointment comes over me when I grasp i must rest or run at 2300hrs when I was up at 0500hrs.

I then play games in my head.

Oh f%ck it, I will just run.

No, I won’t. It is rest.

I know better.

Rest when on days I hear myself saying.


Not being a psychologist or sports psychologist I am guessing at why I do this.  For me, it is part habit/routine, part fun and just who I am.

It feels “wrong” not exercising. It feels kind of weird not moving or lifting or pushing something around a room.

Yet here I sit. 48 hours of rest later and I do actually still have really sore ankles. I ran on a treadmill for the first time in months. Destroyed my ankles and calfs. So even with rest I am still sore.

In the mindest I have had I would have stretched and run through the stiffness knowing it loosens up and then suffered the hobbles the next day again. I think now about how my ankles could feel if I had exercised or ran the last 2 days, Sore now with rest. OOOOHHHHH. So so so sore had i exercised. .


Looking back at my Garmin connect and trainingpeaks I can learn that when I do not build in the rest/recovery/downtime I do simply burn out, run out of steam. There are consistent patterns of 3 – 5 weeks pretty much solid exercise, something every day from a long walk to press-ups to 25km jogs.

Then — like a steam train a week off. I do nothing. All the efforts of the previous weeks almost goes pop in a week of tiredness.

On review, (I love a good review and learning) I can see over a 6 month period this was happening. The other pattern was always the week off would fall after a set of 4,12-hour shifts with the 2-night shifts at the end.

Running after a 12 hour night shift, 15 hour day is ok. Doing it on the 2nd day after having 3 hours sleep and banging out another 12-hour shift is mentally tough. I used to do it. Then wonder why I was shattered. I get why I was not a brain surgeon. A distinct lack of thought at times in my life.

I will still do it. I am daft that is why.

The just get on with it in my view does not always work for me anymore. I have learnt the hard way. With a few days or a week of no Phys, thanks to being done in I have got to LEARN TO build in the rest. Build it in so I can enjoy my Phys, stay consistent, enjoy my efforts and see better results in the long run.


Exercise for me is fun. It is like food for me. The pair go hand in hand. I eat to exercise and exercise to eat.

Exercise keeps me sane. It keeps my head on track. Exercise keeps my mental health feeling ok and in control. I feel calmer, less stressed and more in control over the voice in the head that can become a demon at times.

I figured out how to eat so I could lose weight, gain weight, run ultramarathons, or just feel better quite some years ago. I am only just realising that 2 plus 2 is actually 4 and not 7 when it comes to building in recovery and simply days off around work shifts.


I do wonder how I got to almost 50 and I am only just waking up to the need to actually just give myself permission to not exercise for a day or two around the shifts. Surely I can just thrash myself more the other 4 to 6 days in my shift pattern cant I????


Plan more. I know I am shattered after my day shifts so build in rest around these 2 days.

Night shifts = exercise in the day. SLOWLY.

Recognise rest is good. My body repairs itself when I rest.

Allow me to give myself permission to rest.

Recognise and stop beating myself up about not exercising. Take note when the head voice kicks in and flick it over,


In the next post, I will have a ramble about what I find I do more off in my day’s rest which is actually quite interesting.

#garminconnect #trainingpeaks #mentalhealth #rest #recovery #hrv4training #running #ultratraining #equinox24 #brightonmarathon2020

#cushti #ycllrn #woofwoof #shiftworker

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