Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rest Days

I've noticed something interesting about my Half Ironman training plan. You get a rest day, like, once every three weeks if you're lucky. 

I've usually had one rest day a week while marathon training. When I started training for the Stone Mill 50 Miler, I bumped it up to two rest days per week, and since I am prone to laziness, I was in heaven. 

I only wish this showed a Forever Lazy.

Transitioning to working out every single day is a big change for me. On one hand, I can sort of see why. When training for a marathon, or a 50 mile race, you are running all the time. Always using the same muscles, always pounding on your joints, and I know my body definitely needed a break from that.

From my limited experience with triathlon training, switching between three sports gives your body a break, without actually taking a break. After this past weekend, my legs were tired from a busy weekend of cycling, running, and lifting weights. Monday morning was a swim workout, so that switches the bulk of the workout to my arms. So, my body hasn't had that overwhelming, wow I can barely even put on my socks feeling when you KNOW it's time for a rest day.

Rest days are hugely mental for me though. I NEED to know that at least one day a week, I don't have to get the energy to push through a workout at 5am. Focusing on that helps me get through those other tough workouts. So I don't really know how this once every three weeks deal will work out for me. I couldn't get up again today, and this didn't even happen last night.

My big mistake last night was attending grad class.

So far, I'm on what's probably my longest ever workout streak since my boyfriend in college joined the army (I needed to fill the void). If I make it until my planned rest day on Saturday, I will have completed 18 straight days of working out. So, basically, that's running a marathon, taking two rest days, then working out every day for three straight weeks until another rest day the day before another marathon. Does that make sense? Good.

Yet, my weekly running mileage has dropped from 30-40 mpw (or something, I don't really keep track, but I think that's close) to something like 8-13 mpw. Which is exactly what I planned to do, except that marathon Sunday is making me question it. (But, as you can see, I am following through with the most important part of marathon training - setting up my excuses ahead of time.)

Not that every one of those workouts has been brutal (although some have) - far from. This week I'm dialing it down every more. Bootcamp was replaced by a 5 mile easy run, I plan to do a SUPER easy hour on the trainer tonight, and swimming Friday. I can't really swim any slower without calling it "floating", but I don't think that workout will leave me exhausted.

However, I got some good news on Pinterest this morning when I was doing my once-monthly trip because I was too tired to come up with anything funny and I needed to steal pictures for the blog.

Thank goodness everyone knows redheads are already born without souls, or this might have upset me.

Do you think rest days are important, or are you one of those elites that doesn't need them?


  1. Doesn't your hair have a red tint...?

    I love rest days. The thing is, they are usually the days I do other things that need to get done so it's not completely resting.

    Dogs are awesome.

  2. Oh, I need them!!To be honest, I usually end up with 2 a week which I'm okay with :)

  3. Rest days are great physically but mostly I need a day or two a week where I know it's ok to just sit on the couch all day.

  4. I feel like I operate better without rest days. If I rest the day before a race, I always feel awful the whole time, like my legs don't work. I take days off sporadically when I'm really tired and worn out, but for the most part, I just keep going.

    I hope you're ready to meet Bungee in October. She'll probably just hide from you anyway.

  5. My body needs rest days more than my mind does. However during 50 mile training, my body needed them too. When you never do runs past 10 miles, your body doesn't scream for rest as much.

    I do get really burnt out on pushing the stroller for runs. Some days it seems worse than running an impromptu marathon through the freezing rain.

    1. Wow, I made a ton of sense there. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your brain on toddler tantrums.

  6. That is a bunch of days strung together with workouts, although I do get that you are using different muscles and in different ways. I like to take at least one day off a week, and sometimes two. I don't "plan" a lot of my rest days though...just take them when it feels like I'm needing a break physically. Like Kara, my body needs the rest more than my mind does though...I'd workout every day if my body would just behave and do whatever I ask without complaining (see, I'm not unreasonable ;-).

  7. When I was looking for Half-Ironman training plans I made sure to find one that had at least one rest day a week. I know they set those plans up to have some lighter days (like an easy swimming workout or an easy run), but I like to have a day off to rest my mind and body. When I am training for races, near the end I always start to feel burnt out so this rest day really helps!

  8. You are a BEAST! Even though I have lotsa easy days on my schedule, I can't remember my last day off of exercise. So - this Sunday is my day of rest...only 39 more miles to go this week. Cake, right? I have a 21 miler on Saturday, so I can do it.

  9. I love rest days and everyone should take them. Mentally and physically you just need it.

  10. I usually cherish rest days...but my sprained ankle is forcing me to take them now so of course now i hate them! not being able to run on a day like today when its 60 and sunny is KILLING me! I even tried deep water running today to get my running fix...while it was a good workout, it was NOT the same...and i'm pretty sure i looked like a drunk penguin in the water.

  11. I love rest days and probably take too many of them but that's just me. I laugh at the last picture because my sister is a redhead and I can't wait to share it with her!

  12. You can rest Sunday. Afternoon.

  13. Also, you can rest when you're dead. Or when you've run 100 miles. Which is pretty much the same thing.

  14. You should dye your hair red so everyone is warned of your soullessness.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.