Hello divas! I hope that your week has gone well and you have some fabulous plans for the weekend. I have been training all winter and my first half marathon of the year is coming up this weekend. I’m excited but also a little nervous as I haven’t run a race since the summer lol. But today I want to talk about an important part of any training plan – rest days. I will be the first to admit that I hate rest days. They make me antsy and I am often left feeling like I should be doing something. But they are an important part of my training so I will schedule them into any regimen I am doing, though I don’t always take a complete rest day like I should.
Prevents injuries. One of the biggest benefits of taking a day off is that it will prevent overuse injuries. The body can only take so much and if you are working the same muscles over and over, injuries and soreness can occur. I have had to deal with plantar fasciitis over the course of my running and, let me tell you, it was not fun at all. I ended up having to take almost 2 months off of just about everything (including running) to allow my body to heal. It just about drove me nuts.
Prevents burnout and exhaustion. Working out too much can lead to more issues than just injuries. When you do the same things over and over again, you can get burned out pretty easily (check out my tips for making running fun and how to learn to love fitness). There will be a real lack of motivation to continue to do your chosen activity. This can lead to both mental and physical exhaustion. Insomnia and mood swings can occur making you a not happy person to be around.
Allows body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. When you exercise, there is damage done to tissues in the body. Taking a rest day allows your body to replenish the energy stores that have been used and repair these tissues. This will make you stronger in the end by increasing your endurance and strength.
Prevents illness. One thing that you may or may not know is that overtraining can cause a breakdown in your immune system. This makes it much easier for you to get a cold or other illness that can affect your exercise goals.
More free time. Lastly, taking a rest day will give you some free time to spend with family and friends and/or work on other hobbies and interests. Sometimes you just need some time away to reevaluate and figure out why you are doing what you are doing. Even if it is just for one day a week.
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Do you take rest days? How often? What do you do on your rest days?
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