While our personal pace and distance preferences differ, we runners are typically all out there for the same ultimate goal: to constantly seek better. And so we make training calendars and shift social plans. We push our body to its limits and often are hard on ourselves for not being able to give more. We do speed work and hill repeats. While this rigidity and routine, determination and drive, typically propel the everyday runner into PRs and mile markers, it can be detrimental to us too. Incorporating rest days into your workout routine can be a new and foreign concept for a lot of us. Check out Vega’s guide below to start benefitting from rest days today.
Benefits of Rest Days
The truth is if done right rest might actually improve your fitness level. Rest can be an essential part of the training plan, and your recovery process.
Rest days are key to healthy training and help prevent overtraining and burnout.
Rest between workouts can be hard
Because rest isn’t what we athletes do. We run and exert ourselves in full force. And so when we identify that our body needs a break, it forces most of us type-A personality runners out there to sometimes miss workouts, adjust our schedules, and be (gasp) still.
Identifying when we’re being too hard on ourselves, when we notice something feeling “off” in our body, and when our fatigue is suddenly extending beyond just the muscle, can be difficult to acknowledge and accept
Rest is something we’ve personally had to work at too, and we think many of you reading this post can share in this sentiment, too. While not the case today, when we first started on our fitness journey rest wasn’t part of our vocabulary. The reason? Fitness level. We were afraid that a day or week not spent exercising would inordinately set us back from all we had accomplished to date.
Personally, we think missing a day or even week of training is better than the alternative – getting hurt and missing the race.
Do you need a rest day from cardio?
When building out an 8 or 12-week running schedule, always make sure to incorporate not only rest days every week, but also a lighter week every 4 to 5 weeks of hard training. Why? Rest days and easy runs can give us runners even greater reward; helping, not hurting, performance. Rather than losing fitness, rest days can help to support your strength and endurance.
how much rest between workouts?
We ask a lot of our bodies as runners. A huge sign that rest is important (and even overdue) is when you’re both physically and mentally struggling with normal runs and workouts. It’s during this time that it’s important to step back and remind yourself of your ultimate goals, accepting that it’s OK to miss a scheduled run day or shift around the training calendar.
While rest days during training are important, it’s also important to think of training in cycles, and to incorporate rest weeks throughout the year. The secret to successful rest is to take a break long enough to allow all systems to recharge and signs of fatigue disappear.
Some successful runners build annual breaks into their running. These breaks are not just lower mileage. They are weeks of no running. And while fitness level does decline slightly, and weight may slightly increase, you may come back to the sport stronger and tougher, both mentally and physically.
Best Ways to rest between workouts
1. Build a rest week (or two) as part of a training plan after completing a large race.
2. Incorporate active recovery and rest days to ease yourself in, such as a gentle yoga class (or home yoga stretches). New to yoga? Check out Vega’s blog post Yoga & Pilates 101 about the basics of getting into yoga.
3. Incorporate one day of complete rest into each week of training.
4. Revel in the day. Make it a Sunday. Let your body sleep in and your mind rest. Snuggle more with the family and indulge in a yummy brunch. Wear sweats and tell yourself, “It’s OK to watch a trashy TV marathon”. Most importantly remind yourself that you earned it and that this day is just as important as the 10-miler you had the day before.
Food to help workout recovery
To aid the work our bodies do to rebuild and replenish energy stores and muscles, we fuel with Vega Sport® Recovery. It helps refill glycogen stores so you can be ready for whatever workout you’re itching to try after your rest day.
How do you incorporate a rest day into your workout routine?