Running

The Importance of Rest Days

I’ve always been hit and miss with rest days. Sometimes I’m super diligent about taking them, i.e. it’s not hard to “take” them; I just want a day off. Othertimes, when my training is going so well, I don’t want to take them. And other times, I feel like I shouldn’t take them if I want to keep improving. With this half marathon training I’m doing, the plan I’m following has 1-2 rest days a week. It specifies no running, but says gentle cross-training or yoga is ok if you’re feeling good. And if not, it’s better to rest completely. 

I ran last night and did intervals. I felt terrible during them. Sluggish. Dehydrated. And I just couldn’t hit the goal pace I was aiming for. Today was designated as a rest day, which I was grateful for after the disappointing interval workout. But I signed up for Pure Barre thinking I’d take it easy on the thigh and butt sections, and push it on the upper body strength and core sections. 

IMG 7842

When I woke up this morning, I was exhausted and felt pretty weak. I knew I needed to take a rest day. But, I had signed up in advance for Pure Barre and couldn’t remember my password at 5 am to cancel! (And, I don’t think you can cancel if there is less than an hour before class.) So I went to class and it was pretty much a waste of my time. I simply could not push myself. I was exhausted and no energy or strength to work out. And Pure Barre is definitely a class that you get out of it what you put into it. I usually leave pretty sweaty and today was not like that. 

While it was frustrating to lose sleep and use a pass on my Pure Barre package on a class that wasn’t that great for me, it was a good reminder about the importance of rest days–especially when increasing the intensity and/or distance of training runs.

What’s your approach to rest days? Do you take them on a specific day or just listen to your body? Do you ever struggle to take them?

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs
    at

    I usually schedule Fridays as my rest days, and stick to that pretty faithfully. However, last Friday I went trampolining, thinking it wouldn’t really be that much of a workout, but it was! I really noticed it this week — I felt much more tired overall from not actually taking a needed rest day!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    at

    I tend to listen to my body when it comes to working out, usually I’ll know an hour or two after the workout whether tomorrow will be in the game plans. The only time I struggle to take them is when I know I have a pre-paid boot camp session with a trainer the next day. So I definitely feel you about not wanting to waste a pass for your barre class!

  • Reply
    christina
    at

    i so agree and listen to my body. i haven’t been running–like at all since my half–but wanted to try to get back into it now that the weather is better. i ran 3 miles on mon & tue and on wed my body felt like it had been hit by a mack truck! i felt so pathetic and sad about it but then remembered, hey, it’s something new and i need to relax, both mentally and physically. 🙂

  • Reply
    Julie
    at

    I struggle to take them ‘cuz I love working out & feel better when I’ve done SOMETHING. I’m getting better about it, though. I realize that my body needs a rest & that change is still happening on those days. I do have days that I just go for a walk or take a yoga class (or walk 9 holes of golf) & call those “rest” days. Otherwise I don’t usually schedule rest days – they just come about naturally when my schedule doesn’t give me time to work out that day.

  • Reply
    Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
    at

    I love my rest days haha. More often than not, I end up very sore the next day after CrossFit and I know that a nice rest day is the best thing for me.

  • Reply
    Kate
    at

    I feel your pain – literally and figuratively! Yesterday, was one of those days that I just crashed after work even though I really wanted to make it out to Salem Lake with TCTC. I have been front loading my workouts in the week so when I hit sheer exhaustion towards Thursday or Friday, I feel less guilty about taking a day or two off since I know I will still be able to meet my training quota for the week. Get your rest – sounds like you have earned it!

    • Reply
      Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      That’s smart to front load! I’ve been wanting to get out for the TCTC Thursday night workouts…but I’m kind of intimidated! Are there all paces/levels? Do people run together or just if they come with friends? (I need TCTC friends. ha!)

      • Reply
        Kate
        at

        The TCTC runs are fun (disclosure – I have only participated in the August Thursday runs but want to do a morning hash run). There are definitely multiple pace levels – you can run with others, run alone, or a little bit of both. I think you’d enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Meg
    at

    I just want you to know the reason I’m sitting on my couch sipping my 2nd coffee and munching a bagel with goat cheese is because of this post. 🙂 I don’t usually have a hard time taking rest days but I’ve been pushing myself to move every day the last few weeks and was planning a run for this morning. I’ve been feeling a little under the weather the last 2 days and noticed how dehydrated I was yesterday. I was laying in bed last night reading this post and said “that’s it! Teri says to take the day off.” So I am. Thanks for reminding me to listen to my body. Hope you have a lovely long weekend! xo

  • Reply
    Purelytwins
    at

    we normally always have 2 rest days a week, sometimes more. We just listen to our bodies, and other times it’s because we got too much going on.

  • Reply
    Eva
    at

    thanks for this reminder! rest days are just as important as workout days and sometimes i forget that, or overlook it. i’m in the process of increasing my training for my first marathon, so i am working on finding a better balance between pushing myself and resting.

  • Reply
    KaraHadley
    at

    I’m good at taking rest days regularly, unless I’m trying to up my fitness level or reach a new goal. Then I really only take a rest day when my body is completely running on empty, but once I get to that point I usually need a couple of rest days to get back to a point where I feel like I can give it my all, so I’m trying really hard to be smarter about them.

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