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A Huge Weekend Runcheap Thank You To….. Rest Days

This weekend’s huge runcheap thank you goes out to something I need to more consistently. Take a day off. It is so counterintuitive to me and surprisingly hard to do. But when I do- I always feel the benefits down the line.

Thank you rest days!

Thank you for allowing the opportunity to catch up on all the small things in my life!

Thank you for giving me enjoyment and getting all that soreness out of body so I can run strong again!

I hate rest days. I really do.  For someone who loves fitness and exercise with the tenacity that I do, they seem almost worthless. For someone who loves a good cardio challenge or a hard session of strength training, it just seems like a wasted day. For someone who loves to run- to not run a typical workout day is almost as mentally taxing as actually running can be. Seriously a day with no exercise? A day without that mental and physical vibe that has let me  be physically fit, mentally confident, and more overall healthy? A day without the challenge, intensity, commitment and achievement that keeps me focused on my life both as a runner and in general? Why?

I class I really would need to take if it existed 🙂

It gets even harder for me to take rest days when you realize that I believe that the human body can be pushed way further than most people think it can. I operate under the belief that could almost always do a little more. Some runners take rest days throughout the week, others on a 10 day plan, or a 2 week plan. Others do it by feel- they simply take a day off when they need one. I tend to refuse to stop myself from exercise unless I have a good reason to take a day off. Im self motivated and structured enough to make this stick for weeks on end.

I realized today that I hadnt taken a rest day since the day before this race. Thats just absurdly long.

So why am I doing a post thanking days off? Because rest days are essential. I realized today that I hadnt taken one in well over 2 months. Thats too long regardless of how intense or focused I am. And borderline dangerous as well.

Why are rest days essential? Why do I need to start structuring more of them into my plan? Lets use today’s rest day as an example:

– To allow the mild tendonitis in my foot to rest and not become something more serious

– To allow that perpetual sorenesss in my hamstrings and legs to flush out

– To rejuvenate my energy stores

– To be able to accomplish all those little cleaning tasks around the house I have been ignoring but need to do

– To be able check out a movie- “Hunger Games” (Because “Avengers was sold out, damnit!)

– To get a different perspective on Sundays

– To be able to sort through mail for the firs time in close to 2 months.

– To be able to hit a new exercise week refreshed

– To spend time with the cats

Ugh sold out on my rest day, switched to “Hunger Games” which was a decent flick

Every runner needs a really good rest day. I just feel they need to be worthwhile and  not days when you couch for the entire time and try to clear out all your old episodes of “Restaurant Impossible” or “Castle”.  Couch potato days like those are best saved for tapering before big races (when minimal exertion is best); rest days should be savored and enjoyed. You have earned them. You are mentally there enough to know that a day off wont derail your physical fitness and wont get you out of the habit of intense exercise. In the past I have had the following 3 superb experiences on rest days

1. Capoeira Batizado- My last rest day before this one, I attended our yearly capoeira celebration where you change cords if so earned and celebrate each other’s successes.

2. Cruise Day 1- My parents paid for a 3 day cruise for my family, and the 1st day I made myself stay away from the fitness center and just chill out. It allowed all my tension to slip away. I ejoyed copious food, my families company, and savored the feeling of being on vacation

3. Blueberry Festival – Around this time last year, my friend Heidi and I checked out a local blueberry festival put on by the small Keel and Curley Winery. We picked blueberries for reduced price,did a fruity wine sampling, ate blueberry shortcake, and purchased a few cheap goodies. Then I want to a friends going away party and had a great time

This Blueberry Festival was top notch, sadly could not round up anyone this year. I highly recommend it

Days off like that are what I hope for when I take them. Today wasnt necessarily like that, but it will certainly be worthwhile from a “Energy Refreshment” type of a scenario.  Rest days help you enjoy life. Rest days help you stay injury free so you arent spending money at the doctors. Rest days mean you dont add extra wear and tear on your workout gear, tap your food resources more, and cause you to search for more caffeine. They save you money in small ways. Or maybe than save you money long term by saving your body. They keep you healthy and running strong,  so you can run cheap. Either way a huge runcheap thank you goes to rest days. Thank you again rest days. Now I will finish enjoying the rest of mine.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0 

or- enjoy your day off 😉

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