I love running and I love being a running coach. Not a day goes by when I’m not doing something that has to do with running — whether it’s my own training, coaching kids, or meeting with adult runners. Heck, even this blog is all about running!
As much as I love all things running, I savor rest days and the fun things they bring.
Rest days are important, and often overlooked, aspects of training. If you don’t have a heavy training load, not taking a true rest day won’t matter nearly as much as if you’re running high mileage and doing a lot of strenuous workouts.
Thank you to prAna for providing the outfits for this post. All opinions and images are my own.
Staying Active with Recovery and Rest Days
What is a rest day?
A rest day is when you take time off from your usual fitness program. That means taking a break from running when your main focus is running, or from CrossFit if that’s your workout of choice.
Why is rest important?
Rest days allow our bodies to rebuild themselves through a training cycle. When we work out, particularly hard workouts like speed and strength days, our muscles, nerves, bones, and tendons break down. Rest days allow those fibers and bones to heal and rebuild. Without proper rest, our bodies will continue to be broken down repeatedly and we won’t reap the benefits from our training. Not getting adequate rest between bouts of hard work can also lead to injury.
What’s the difference between active recovery and a true rest day?
Active recovery is when you take a break from your activity and do something less strenuous instead. For example, a runner may do gentle yoga on a rest day as part of active rest. A true rest day is when you simply have a rest day and don’t do much other physical activity. True rest days are great for runners during a taxing training cycle. Your body will tell you when it’s time for an active recovery day or a true rest day.
Taking a mental break.
Taking a mental break is just as important during training as taking a physical break. Good news: you can reset and unwind on your true rest days mentally and physically. When I’m not running, coaching runners, or working on strength training, I like to take a step back from my running life. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s much-needed when I do. And when these rare days do occur, I like to dress a little more like a grown-up and a lot less like an athlete. I find I get a mental reboot when I wear non-running apparel. It makes me feel good and I feel ready to tackle the next workout with grit.
Resting and relaxing with prAna.
In both “workout world” and in “real-clothes-wearing world”, wearing clothes that are sustainably made, durable, and comfortable is really important to me. I’m an active person and have two young children at home. I tend to reserve my “nice” clothes for date nights and mom’s nights, but sometimes I like to wear something a little less sporty when I’m with my children. Having fashionable, comfortable, and durable clothing is the solution.
I keep basics in my wardrobe — jeans, black leggings, basic sweaters and cotton shirts — and pair them with the “fun” stuff like patterned dresses and cute tops, and fun shoes. Shown in this post: the Ariel dress and Harlene top from prAna’s new fall collection!
I find my rest days are more effective when I take a full step back. I rarely wear anything aside from running clothes in my day to day life. When I have a rest day, I like to wear different, and comfortable, clothing to really take advantage of a mental reset.
Rest days are truly very important to a successful training plan. By allowing your body to rest and recover, you’ll stay fit and active for many years to come.
Are you ready to tackle your rest day in style? Use code FARF15 for 15% off your order from www.prana.com. There are lots of fit and fashionable options — perfect for helping you reboot on your rest days!
What’s your favorite way to actively rest?
Do you have a true rest day built in to your training?
Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesdays.