Week #8 – The Importance of Rest
Rest is essential to our success as athletes. I personally believe in at least one day off per week. This means complete inactivity. No cross-training or strength training: Just a day to let our bodies rebuild and recover. Realize that during our workouts we are stressing our cardiovascular systems and creating microscopic tears in our muscles. If we continue to exercise without periods of rest we never truly allow our bodies to rebuild themselves. This leads to decreased performance, injury, and eventual burnout. We get stronger during our periods of rest, not during the workouts themselves!
Let’s refer back to my article on building volume and periodization from a few weeks ago. Remember that periodization means "cycling" our training; a huge component of this process is rest. If we do not take time off, our bodies will not be able to adapt to the training we have just completed, nor will they be prepared to handle the increased training to come.
I personally love my rest days. I am convinced that I can "feel" my body rebuilding itself as I relax once a week. These days are our rewards for a solid week of training and, trust me, as you get closer to race day you will appreciate these rest days more and more!