I don’t know about you guys, but it’s really hard for me to take a rest day lately. I’m not sure why, but every time I plan one, I end up getting in the pool or going for a run instead of just taking the entire day off.
Because of this I’ve been learning how to take active rest days instead. And I’m really enjoying it.
If you’re like me you might wonder why you need a rest day at all. There’s really a very good reason for giving your muscles a break. It is so they can heal.
Everytime you workout you’re ripping the fibers of your muscles apart and breaking them down. Ever wonder why you’re not supposed to lift for the same muscle group two days in a row?
It’s so your muscles have time to heal and build themselves back up. This is the process that makes you stronger.
You know that person at the gym who you always see pounding away at the treadmill hour after hour who has a string bean for a body? They’re not letting their muscles heal, so they’ll never really get that much stronger.
Doing cardio every day is a strain. But with swimming there are so many variations that you can train every day, while still giving your muscles time to heal.
With triathlon it is much easier to take an active rest day. There are so many workouts you have to choose from and all will benefit you in the end when it comes to racing.
Now, I don’t do triathlons anymore. But I’ve been finding that cycling is something I really enjoy on an active rest day.
I don’t push myself, and the workout might be super short. But the point is that I got some good movement in, and like I’m always telling my husband, movement is good. I’m usually only saying this because I need to make myself feel better about the dessert I just had. But still, it’s a good principle to follow.
My point is that you can heal your muscles at the same time that you’re getting rest without having to take an entire day off. If that’s what you want to do, that is. Active rest days aren’t for everyone.
One of my favorite parts of active rest days are that I have no pressure on myself as to how I’ll perform during my workout. This makes it much more enjoyable while still keeping me amped for my next planned workout.
Maybe take your next planned rest day and do something you don’t normally do. Whether it be cycling, lifting, or just going for a walk with someone, get some easy and pressure free movement in.
And if that walk takes you to the nearest bakery? So be it.
Lissa Henderson, TriSwim Coach