Hello divas! I hope that your week has gone well. Mine has been pretty good. I was under the weather a bit with sinus issues earlier in the week but I was able to go for a run for Global Running Day yesterday so I am doing much better now.
I have been taking it easy since my half marathon in Nashville in April, but that is changing next week. My next race is the Rock n’ Roll half in Virginia Beach over labor day so my training plan starts on Monday. I’m excited but also a little nervous as I really haven’t done a lot of actual training (other than short to medium runs and walking) since the broken ankle in November.
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 benefits of taking a rest day so I will schedule them into any regimen I am doing.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.