There is a time to push yourself really really hard to achieve a goal you really really want, but without a plan, most of us will continue pushing and pushing until we burn out or crumble. There is also a time to rest.
You have to respect Rest day.
Maybe I am preaching to the choir here, but since I’ve hired a coach and since I have a solid plan, I work hard throughout the week to do my workouts so that, when Monday’s roll around, I can rest and feel great about it. I look forward to rest day – who doesn’t?. It’s like a little holiday for my body after pushing myself through tough workouts and exhaustion – mile after mile. It’s like Tiramisu for the soul – so delicious!
It might be counter-intuitive, but it’s when we rest that we actually build and make the big gains in muscle tone, strength and volume (if that’s what we’re going for). When we workout, and really push ourselves, punishing our tendons, joints and muscle fibers, we break those systems down and we need down-time for those systems and tissues to repair. Our bodies are amazing and when we give them a fighting chance, they will not only repair, but those repairs will allow us to go longer, faster and with more power than we ever did before.
You gotta respect your Recovery.
So space it out. If you’re just starting out, run one day, rest the next. Put a solid day between workouts and don’t deviate until you start building your mileage. Then maybe you can pick another day, if that is what your goal is going to require, and instead of resting, workout two days in a row and then rest. You can also put a slow run after a long run, called a “Recovery Run”, where you are just getting the body moving and you’re not pushing at all – you’re taking it easy and still making sure everything is working smoothly – short miles, easy pace. But whatever you do, make sure you are listening to your body and not just destroying yourself with over-training where your body is in a perpetual state of break-down without ever getting a chance to recover.
Getting pumped up and motivated might make you want to run out the door sometimes and get a workout in but if it’s rest day – just rest.
It might be counter-intuitive, but you will reach your goals faster when you understand recovery, the taper and staying injury free.