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The Importance of Being Lazy
By:  Edward McCarthy   (2007/06/03)

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I have a confession to make.

It's this: I'm incredibly lazy.

To people who know me, this seems to be either an absurd statement, clearly based entirely in sarcasm, or a statement so absurdly obvious that it never seemed to need voicing. The standard rationale of the former group, composed almost entirely of non-skiers, goes something like this: anyone who does two workouts in one day, who runs for over two hours at a time, who gets up and skis before class or work, and spends most weekend time out training, cannot possibly be lazy.

They couldn't be farther from the truth.


Perfecting recovery technique.

The fact is that rest and recovery are an incredibly important part of training. When we train (or so I've been told), we are in fact damaging our muscles, putting them under excessive and unwonted stress and strain. There are even those who come up with novel ways of causing as much damage as possible to their muscles in similar exercise, and will, when confronted, describe in great detail not only their particular method of exercise, but also the way in which they are encouraging their muscle fiber to tear even more than the average grunt. Recovery allows these muscles to heal, becoming as they do so even stronger than they were before, in the hope - always disappointed - of avoiding further mutilation. (A little like Prometheus, only we do it to ourselves.) It follows that there's no point in training if there's no rest in which to glean the benefits.

The benefit to being a full-time athlete is the freedom to use one's time simply to rest and to train. Those blessed few rarely have to put thought into resting; they can finish training, eat, nap, train again, and watch the Tour de France all evening (my ideal July day, really). As a member of the working, or studying, populace, however, I have had to adopt an extreme, carefully considered laziness to maximize my recovery time. For those in my position, I have compiled some of my tricks of laziness.

Laziness begins at home. Before getting out of bed, I carefully plan my morning so as to minimize trips up stairs. This continues throughout the day. When moving to a different floor, or even room, of the house, I assure myself that I have everything I could conceivably desire in that room with me. This includes portable phone (getting up for the phone is an inexcusable waste of energy), water, a good book (absorbing literature promotes laziness), a snack, and a sweater in case it gets cold. One can never be too prepared; if your naps require a special pillow or stuffed animal, always make sure to have them close at hand.

When running errands, be sure that the "running" part is never literal. I always try to combine as many as possible, and plan out routes through the grocery store that minimize distance. If possible, get a non-lazy companion to push you in a grocery cart, saving yourself precious steps.

I'm pretty sure I had more, but I'm too lazy to recall them. Just remember: if you talk to me at work, and I'm leaning on the wall, I'm not being insolent - I'm recovering!


Too lazy to get a haircut.

 
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