Hill workout? Check. Negative splits? Check. Rest day? Uh…maybe tomorrow. Yeah, we thought so. Most dedicated runners excel when it comes to pushing through long runs or sweating out an intense sprint training session. But when it comes to resting, many of you are at a loss. We’re not going to tell you to trade in your trainers for a pair of bunny slippers, but skimping on rest isn’t doing you any favors. Here are a few tips to make the most of your rest day:
Rest After Max Effort
If you’re only going to rest one day each week, plan your rest day for the day following your hardest workout. Giving your body a little extra chance to recuperate from a strenuous training session will help you to maximize the benefits of your workout.
If you can schedule your rest day on a day when you don’t have work, it will help you squeeze the most juice out of your day off. This is the perfect excuse to sleep in a little. Your body repairs itself most effectively when you’re catching some zzz’s, so stocking up on your day off can help enhance your performance on your next workout day.
Slip on a pair of compression socks, sleeves or tights to give your legs a little extra love on your day off. Graduated compression for recovery can reduce muscle soreness and decrease recovery time by encouraging increased blood flow. Blood carries away toxins in tired muscles, and oxygen-rich blood helps muscles recover.
Even though you’re taking a day off, don’t skip out on much-needed calories for the day. Your body needs plenty of fuel to recover from your week of training, and you won’t pack on pounds in one day without training. Focus on foods rich in protein to help repair muscle tissue, and carbohydrates to help replenish your depleted glycogen stores.
Forgive the corniness, but taking a rest day isn’t just for your body, it’s for your mind also. Resting can help ward off the mental fatigue that often accompanies tough training. So give your mind a little vacay on your day off. Browse the comedies on Netflix or spend some time with good friends who always leave you in stitches. Laughing will lower your cortisol levels, give you a generally more positive outlook, and help you feel refreshed.
We know: it’s not the most glamorous thing to do on your day off, but hear us out. If you take the time to crush your to-do list on your day off, it will free up your time during the rest of the week. If you don’t have to worry about running errands during the week, you’ll be able to focus on your training sessions more effectively. Get your errands out of the way early in the day so you can just kick back and enjoy the, uh, rest of it.