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Beginner’s Guide Part 6: Rest Days are the Best Days!

“Anyone can train hard. Do you have the discipline to recover?” – Lauren Fleshman


“Anyone can train hard. Do you have the discipline to recover?” – Lauren Fleshman

The words “rest days” can be a pain for some runners.  It’s hard to back off training sometimes, especially with “motivational” messages such as “the more the better,” “someone busier is doing more right now,” and “do you think your competition is resting?”  You start feeling guilty for taking a day off or you get restless because you feel weird not working out.

Yes, you need your long runs, intervals, hill work and steady weekly mileage to push yourself to better race performances, but if you can’t recover from those efforts, they really are not doing much good for you. It is during recovery when improvements happen.

Without rest, you are denying your body time to adapt to the stress it’s under and be too tired for your next run – this can lead to injuries!  Think of your rest period as part of your hard workout.   And as Brendan Brazier puts it, “'[i]t’s the time period in between the training that makes the athlete. It’s the recovery phase; quicker recovery = more training, and more training makes you a better runner.”

Here’s a study that explaining how your  muscles are weakened after training for a marathon and need extensive recovery before returning to full training.

Rest is not just zoning out in front of the couch on your day off.  Rest requires good nutritious food, quality sleep, maybe some compression socks, and maybe some light stretching/yoga.  I personally walk around my house in compression socks, do some light yoga, get a massage, and start rehydrating.

There’s also “active recovery.” Active recovery focuses on completing a workout at a low intensity, but high enough that it gets the blood moving which helps reduce residual fatigue in the muscle. On a recovery day, running at a low intensity for a couple minutes, yoga, long walks, etc for those who don’t want to stay put!

So do you take rest days and what are they like?

My dog is preeeeetty serious about his rest days.

My dog is preeeeetty serious about his rest days.

PS. Stay tuned! I’m think there might be a giveaway of some sort coming soon 😉

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6 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide Part 6: Rest Days are the Best Days!

  1. SO true!!! Oh my goodness, loved reading that study. After my marathon, I felt GREAT, and it wasn’t until my first race a few weeks after that I realized how tired my muscles truly were! It’s crazy how run down I was, and didn’t even realize it! Resting is so important! For my typical week, I usually have 2-3 good solid rest days, and feel so shame! 🙂 Love the blog!

  2. Not sure if my comment posted!! I’ll summarize! 1. Love your blog! 2. I loved reading that study! I never realized how worn down my muscles were until I started training again post marathon! 3. I rest 2-3 days a week, and feel no shame!

    • Awww thanks! But yeah! I felt great right after my races too but the second I did a non easy/slow run I was so much more tired than usual 🙁 I “rest” two to three days a week too LOL to be fair, the days I don’t run, I’m at work and I’m on my feet for four hours continuously 🙁

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