Ah, rest. So nice but so frustrating at the same time, no? I have a love/hate relationship with rest days. I know my body needs them, but it seems the sunniest, prettiest days where I am ready to workout ALWAYS fall on rest days. Kind of like how I ALWAYS crave Chic Fil A on Sundays. Anyone else? no? Also, by about 2:00 pm on a rest day I am feeling SO sluggish and in need of a nap.
Did you know that running too much can make you SLOWER? Check out THIS article from Runner’s World. Apparently some determined dude wanted to run Boston and needed to shave 19 minutes off his time so he started training more and more and skipping rest days and he got slower and slower. BUMMER.
One of my favorite lines in this article says “Don’t wait for aches or pains to take a recovery day, that’s a sign of overtraining.” Folks, there is a reason that training days are built into a training schedule, and no it’s not to add variety to the calendar on your refrigerator. Your body NEEDS rest days to recover and make you stronger. (No, Kanye, the things that don’t kill you will NOT necessarily make you stronger.)
On rest days when I am itching to work out, I try and look at my rest day AS a workout. Just like I have a schedule for running, I need a schedule for resting, because it as just as important in my training plan. So when I am sitting on the couch with my feet up, having my husband feed me grapes and wave palm leaves over me, I try to think about allowing my body time to get stronger and more healthy, and I don’t want to mess with that!
I personally don’t do well running more than two days in a row. I can tell that my body is sluggish and not performing well, and I need a rest day or a cross training day to work totally different muscles. Every now and then I can do 3 days in a row if they aren’t all difficult runs, but after that I am spent!
The article also talks about refueling quickly after a run to aid in recovery, and that massages (yyeeessss!) and foam rolling will also help, for the financially challenged folks. (raises hand)
sometimes I like to pretend that I am getting a professional massage and not just foam rolling…
The end of the article has a nice post race recovery guide starting with the second you cross the finish line you should really check out!
So next time you are “resting” but going bezerk inside, think about how what you are doing is actually making you a better runner, so don’t miss out on reaping the benefits! Take a day off, you will thank me later. Ok, now I really need an 8 pack of nuggets and some waffle fries….
QOTD: Do you take rest days? Do you find they help you?
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey says
I love the “don’t wait for aches and pains” quote! Such a great one, and so so true! I used to overtrain, but I’m so glad I odn’t anymore. My body needs to rest!
Jennifer@ knackfornutrition says
Today is my rest day in preparation for a long run tomorrow and it is 71 and sunny with no wind or humidity. Funny how that happens. Oh well, I’m going to try and make the best of it by going to the first farmer’s market of the summer!
Coach Brian says
Rest days absolutely help. My motto is that you don’t gain fitness from working out. You gain fitness recovering from your workouts. Yes, you may feel like a blob after a while if you’re laying around all day. You need to remember to drink plenty of water even when you’re resting. You need it to clear out the waste products as your body is repairing itself. It doesn’t take too much activity to get the heart rate up and the blood moving around again. That’s why I almost never take the day before a race off. I usually take my off day two days before the race, then do an easy 3 mile “shake out” run the day before the race.
I have a bad habit of not taking rest days. I almost feel guilty when I do! Thanks for the gentle reminder on how important they are in recovery and overall healthy! I will enjoy every minute of my rest day tomorrow!
Hmm, that’s interesting that running more makes you slower. Maybe I can use that as my excuse for having so many rest days this week? Yeah probably not, seeing as how I’m only running 3-4 miles at a time.
I saw a foam roller in the store yesterday but I didn’t get it because I didn’t know how to use it… maybe I should’ve and then googled.
I make rest days a necessity due to juggling work and kids. I kind of wish I didn’t sometimes though. I know that’s crazy!
Early this spring I got into a cycle of not taking rest days (I had 14 straight days of workout and my shins started aching!). I ended up taking a few days off so I didn’t cause a big injury. I’m convinced that rest days are important in maintaining a healthy balance not only in exercise, but also in life.
Rest days are very important! I usually do mine on Sunday. Ive learned there is no point at all to run when your body is so tired and needs rest. Yeah, we may still burn calories and be glad when the tired run is over, but if you are looking for better times and performance, then listen to your body. I also learned that sometimes it is good to train when tired to teach your legs and body the feeling and know that it won’t die on ya,like marathon training. I guess you have to decide what’s best for your body and what it can handle. 🙂
Katy (The Singing Runner) says
I forced myself to take a rest day yesterday. I’ve grown to really dislike them but I KNOW they are important!
Im definitely a fan of rest days its amazing when you let your body recover you actually get stronger plus I cant wait to get back working out!
I take time to thoroughly enjoy my rest days! Like today for example! LOL
I have a really hard time taking rest days…they make me feel like im being a woosie. Recently I ran a 4 mile farklets. My shin is killing me when I run, but I feel so guilty for taking days off.