Hey guess what happened in Chicago last night?
That’s right. It snowed again. Needless to say we are really thrilled about it. We should be though because they were calling for 9 inches and we only got 4.
Nonetheless I’m back for another Workout Wednesday to talk about something that seems somewhat counterproductive in terms of exercise, but is immensely important: Rest Days.
I’m really good at sabotaging my rest days. Even better at ignoring them altogether and convincing myself that a light workout is just as good as complete rest.
Rest days are key to maintaining your fitness and your motivation. I learned the hard way that if you ignore them, you’ll end up injured or burnt out and ruin all the work you put into your training in the first place. Trust me when I say that rest days should be treated as importantly as long run days, or leg days, or kickboxing days.
When you’re training for a race, nearly every day is dedicated to some form of exercise. It becomes your routine. So for me and I’m sure others, breaking that routine with a day that you don’t do anything leaves you with a gaping hole of time that you want to fill with endorphins and new additions to your people that look like their dogs list. Don’t laugh. It’s a list I take very seriously and something I hope to turn into a coffee table book someday. And I hope you’ll consider purchasing it when I do.
If you are used to exercising every day, your body becomes accustomed to it. So when you don’t exercise, you may feel sluggish, grumpy, hangry or combinations of each. Talk to a runner during a taper week and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Here are a seven ways to avoid sabotaging your rest day:
- Go for a walk
- Schedule a massage
- Put on your workout clothes to do chores around the house
- Get your haircut. You know you won’t want to wash it again after it’s fixed.
- Schedule a lunch or dinner date with a friend
- Catch up on laundry, specifically focusing on reducing the size of your workout pile so it no longer towers over your work pile
The key to a rest day is not being completely sedentary, but allowing your body to heal and prepare itself for the hard days. My current training schedule has me rest on Fridays and doing my long run first thing Saturday mornings. And while it may seem frustrating at times, I feel the difference a few miles into my run if I don’t take it easy the day before.
Have a great workout!