The importance of rest days

Bear, I feel you.  I really do.  raincarnation40 / Pixabay

Yesterday, an article by Jesse Thomas started making the rounds.  He discussed the difference between how the pros train and how age groupers train.  (For you non-triathletes, age groupers are basically just non-pros.  You either race pro or you race in your age group.)

The big key?  REST.  My schedule currently has 1-2 rest days in it, but on the weeks that I only have one rest day, I often have one day of an easy workout.  And yet, I often wonder if I’m taking those easy workouts too easy. I want to get better after all.

According to Thomas, one big mistake people make is to do every workout at race pace.  And let me tell you, this is tempting, especially as someone who is worried about time limits.  If I push myself all the time, I will get faster, right?  No, I will get injured.  As my coach reminds me, it’s better to go into a race slightly undertrained than overtrained and injured.

So while I feel a bit guilty about how my workouts have gone so far this week (total count as of this morning: 1), it was clearly the right choice for my body.  Monday I worked a 15+ hour day and Tuesday I traveled all day.  Wednesday, I was just exhausted, so Thursday’s swim was the first workout of the week.  And let me tell you, it was a struggle.  Today, I plan to do my workout from Wednesday, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it to the level that I’m scheduled.  I’m going to give it a shot, but if 10-15 minutes in, I’m struggling more than I should be, I’ll ease up.  And I have to admit, there’s a little guilt in that. But I have to remember to listen to my body.

I’ve seen people bragging about how they haven’t taken a rest day in months.  That’s not something to brag about.  At least put an easy workout in there to let your body recover a bit.  Or just rest.  It feels so very nice.

3 thoughts on “The importance of rest days

  1. I don’t do full on rest days, but Fridays are just super easy swim, then foam rolling. Shorter, slower, the works. My volume is Oly level right now, so I imagine rest days will become more important if/when I decide to go longer.

  2. I’m firmly in two camps about this.
    1. Camp rest day. Your body needs to recover. I find this to be a pretty flexible statement with tri training, because you definitely rest muscle groups when you do specific discipline workouts (like, no impact during swim, no arm seriousness during the run. Etc.

    2. Camp Momentum. Even being in camp Rest, I am totally okay with my rest day swinging on the schedule. I’ll have one a week, but it’s not necessarily every 7 days. What I find to be interesting is that I lose momentum within each tri discipline the longer I’m away from it. Example- over the weekend and Monday (this week’s rest day) and Tuesday there was zero swimming. I felt like butt in the pool on Wednesday. It took me two days to get my water feels back. This is way less pronounced on the run and the bike because they’re my stronger disciplines, but losing momentum during a training cycle can be as frustrating AF.

    So I’m making a new camp: Camp Balance. Keep the hard days hard, the easy workouts (mentally) painfully easy, and celebrate the hell outta rest days when they happen, being ready to pick it right back up again.

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