Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sad Truth of Rest Days

There are days that we runners all know are on our calendars, rest days. That's right the inevitable rest day. Some times they are very much looked forward to and other times they are a day to feel guilty about. For me I usually regret them. I personally don't like rest days because I feel like I failed or I should have worked and done some form of major work out. I feel like I fail in my health and fitness when I take a day off from working out or running. But the truth is they are called rest days for a reason! 
I personally try to plan my rest days on specific days of the week I know for sure I will not have time to fit a work out in. So it's more like a working rest day. But if I am fortunate enough to have a day where I can get a rest day in and do something very productive with that day like yoga or a good stretch session then I do. Those days I feel so much better about myself than if I use my rest day as a work day. I don't just feel better physically either, the yoga usually makes me feel much more relaxed and ready to get back out there again! 

This is another area that I need to work on. With my rest days, which I try to put off, I put off the very important yoga/stretching and taking care of my muscles. The continual pounding and over use from my workouts are hard on the body and I can feel when my body gets tense or over worked but what do I do? I push off the yoga. I try to work through the tension and I end up cramping or pulling something! Which of course can be prevented if I could just suck it up and do the proper preventative care. 
Yoga... the not so easy work out that makes me feel like a slacker. Why? Not because I did the deceptively hard yoga that can make me face plant because I slipped on on my own sweat but because I am a cardio junkie! If I don't get my cardio pump in I don't feel like it's a real work out. Which isn't true! I have had some of my worst recovery days after doing a yoga work out. 
My rest days are all mental, it's letting myself truly rest and recover mentally more so than my physical body. Yes, my body is what needs it but taking a real rest day is about me accepting it and letting it be what it is instead of feeling guilty or scared that it is going to mess me up with my dedication to my health and fitness. I always have an underling fear that I will fall back into my old ways and gain all of my weight back and be unhealthy again. That is why rest days are so hard for me. They can be the hardest work out of the week for me. 

And I do struggle with them, I always have a hard time getting back into the swing of things with my workouts afterwards. I usually try to find an excuse to not go back to working out! Which is ironic, right?? But it's because I realize I can get so much more done on the days that I take off. I can watch an episode of a TV show or I can run an errand that I might not have been able to otherwise. Which might not be that big of a deal but I work 12 hour graveyard shifts, so the days that I work I literally only have two hours of "free time" between work, sleep, getting ready for work, driving to and from work, etc. So I have two hours to get up, do what I need to do, work out, and then it's time for me to get ready for work. There is literally not time to do anything else. This is a struggle for me. I have the choice to not work out and relax before work or work out and feel rushed the whole week. 

It is one of the hardest things I choose to do, but I know that I have to in order to live a healthy life. You aren't the only one out there who struggles with finding the motivation! I have been working out for a few years now and some days are wonderful and others are still a struggle for me. 

I'm glad that I'm able to choose to get up and work out.
Keep on running!