Ahh, rest. Monday was my rest day and is always my rest day. Let’s dig into that for a sec.
There’s this group I love called Rest Day Brags. Find them here on Twitter and Instagram. They’re a bunch of misfits getting the Internet all riled up over rest, recovery, and how to appropriately brag about it. They’re totally rad, so when I found out they partnered with one of Oiselle’s ultra runners to chat about the benefits of zero days, well, I thought I should throw another opinion into the mix. That’s just what social media needs, yeah?
See, Mondays weren’t always my rest days. In fact, there is so much resting I didn’t do over the past…mmm…10 years. Of all the brutal running and training I put myself through during college, rarely any of my weeks included rest days. So much of the runner I was identified with the number of miles I racked up, how burned up my quads felt after track sessions, how many seconds I could shave off a 5k. Resting felt like weakness. I don’t know how I survived. If I could bottle up all the rest I didn’t take and all its mental, physical, and emotional healing powers and use it to plus up my rest days these days then, damn, I’d be superhuman by now.
We talk a lot about pushing here, and pushing hard, but the reason I can push so hard is because I rest. On rest days, my steps usually top out around 5,000, and I’m horizontal as long as possible. I like to post my killer suffer sessions on to Strava as much as the next animal, but rest…rest is magic, people.
Rest recharges my mind.
Rest replenishes my achy muscles.
Rest reinvigorates my passion to train.
Rest restores my sleep.
Rest helps me regain my ability to make it down the stairs.
Rest…renews. So when my alarm goes off at 4:22 a.m. on Tuesday for the group ride, I can get on the bike because I love it and I’m ready to push hard again, not because I feel like I have to.
The best part about rest, now, is that I returned to it all on my own. Ten years later, I’ve wised up a little and I grew up.
No one told me to take it down a notch. No one read me the riot act about burning out and losing my love for sport. After racing, riding, and marathoning, I fizzled out in every essence of the word and started listening to what my body and my mind were pleading for: rest. Every Monday, whether I really feel like I need it or not, I rest. Just like on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I ride and I ride hard. Because another Monday will come again.
If you dig rest days like I do, here’s an article from Outside that I’m sort of in love with: The Best Thing to Do for Your Fitness Is Nothing at All.
“When athletes make any type of exercise or sport part of their routine, they are making it part of their identity. So when you say stop exercising, it’s like telling someone to stop doing something that is a part of them.”
Push on, PUSH ANIMALS >>>