The power of rest days

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I do much better when I have a big goal and a training plan to follow. In the absence of a training plan, I can very easily convince myself that the gym or a run can be skipped/avoided/put off until tomorrow. I am liberal with my “rest” days, convincing myself that they are required often (too tired, too sore, too little time, etc). Rest days in this context are not necessarily purposeful, and often a last minute decision quickly filled with regret or a guilty feeling. I am very much in favor of listening to your body and it’s signals for needing a break, but at least in my experience, I might give in to “rest” a little too easily.

Something totally changes in my brain when I am following a training plan. When my half marathon training plan says “Run 3 miles on Tuesday,” it would take an act of God for me to skip that workout. When my trainer says that I need to lift two times in between our next workout, I have zero doubt that I will make it happen. Funny how that works…

But, today is a dedicated rest day on my training plan. I’m technically supposed to have two – Tuesdays and Saturdays. I’m able to swim and attend TRX class on Tuesdays and I don’t want to miss those opportunities, leaving me with one total rest day. One rest day that I totally earned, deserve, and cherish. Unlike my normal, spontaneous day of rest, I feel zero guilt. I am not spending the day arguing with myself that I really should go for a run or to the gym. Nope. You couldn’t pay me enough to do either today. I am going to do absolutely nothing athletic. Nothing at all.

Now, I’m confident that I won’t remember this distinction the next time I am working out in the absence of a training plan or a big goal, but I much prefer the purposeful, earned, deserved rest days over the spontaneous, “I feel bad about myself and my decisions but I should not go to the gym today” days.

Alright! I’m off to do nothing athletic and be lazy for the rest of the day. Hope you are having a great Saturday!

Does documenting your training plan help you stay consistent?

What are your thoughts on rest days?

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