After running the Hat Trick at the Runner’s World Half and Festival I ran another half the following weekend. Sure, going into the race I was tired but I felt okay. After the race started my body decided if you’re not going to listen to a tired body I’m going to get your attention another way. Incredibly tired and sore legs! The hills were killer and I don’t remember a point in the race when my legs didn’t hurt and feel heavy. Ok! I’m listening! With about 3/4 of the race left I debated with myself whether or not I should take a rest week. Not just a day. A whole week of not running. There really wasn’t much debate as to whether or not I should. I knew that I should. The debate turned into an internal dialogue about convincing myself not to run. Not running is so much harder than running. I, irrationally, think taking time off will somehow set me back weeks of training. Ironically, research has proven that taking 7 to 10 days rest will not significantly reduce fitness.
A self imposed no running and non-impact exercise week. I wasn’t resting from exercise altogether. During the week I stretched and did yoga everyday. I continued with Best Body Bootcamp workouts. Add in a little kickboxing and you have my non-running week. How did it go?
Honestly, it was one of the best running decisions I’ve ever made! It wasn’t easy. Work has been a little more stressful than usual and my first impulse is to go for a run when I get home. That is how I unwind and relax. The proof of my decision was my first run after
7 6 days of not running. It felt amazing to run on legs that weren’t tired and sore. I enjoyed the easy nothing-out-of-the-ordinary run more than I have in, what seemed like, a long time. My legs felt strong again. The stretching afterward felt good. And my protein smoothie (that I drink almost everyday of the week) tasted better than ever. How’s that for proof!
I doubted The Runner’s Guide when I read:
Rest allows the runner to not only recover but also improve. It is important to realize rest is when improvements are actually made as opposed to when the runner is training.
Of course I’m not going to start taking a rest week on a regular basis but I will 1. make sure I include at least one rest day weekly and 2. listen to my body and if more than one rest day is needed I will take it.
Top 5 Benefits of A Weekly Rest Day
- reduces the risk of injury
- prevents mental burnout
- restores glycogen stores
- allow muscles time to rebuild and repair
- give joints the much needed rest from the repetitive pounding
For this week:
With a Sunday race, Saturday will be my non-running and no impact rest day.
Do you schedule weekly rest days? Is it total rest or active rest? Have you ever taken a week off from running and high impact exercise?