REST is not a 4 letter word


Sometimes I feel that runners do think rest is a dirty word. I still remember my first half marathon, where I attended a lot of the seminars. In one of them they mentioned that elite runners rarely run more than one marathon a year. It’s too hard on their body (of course, they’re also probably running 100+ miles a week).

Maybe it’s a runner’s version of FOMO? Fear of missing out, for those that don’t know. Or the runner’s version of keeping up with the Joneses — if Mary can run a marathon every week, surely I can run a half every week, right?

So read on, but keep in mind I’m not a coach, medical professional, yadda yadda yadda.

Why rest
If you got sick and had to stop running for a week, would you go out and just run as hard as you possibly could your first run back? I hope not.

Recst does a lot of things for our bodies:

  • Helps prevent illness
  • Helps prevent injury
  • Helps us to continue training
  • Helps us to improve
  • Helps prevent burn out –physically and mentally
The furkids understand the importance of REST

Rest is where the magic happens
It seem pretty simple, right? You train hard, you improve. But life isn’t simple, is it? How many of you have trained really hard and not seen improvement (raises hand). There are many reasons, of course, but not resting could actually be holding you back from improving.

Why? Running is actually somewhat like weight lifting: it actually “breaks” your body down, and the rest allows your body to “rebuild” itself and become stronger. When we take the time to rest, and our bodies are allowed to adapt to the work we’ve done, we become fitter.

Ignore that need for rest, and you’ve stressed out your body but not allowed it to recover — opening the door to exhaustion, illness, injury — or all three.

YRMV (your recovery may vary)
Your rest may not look like my rest. Maybe you need one rest day a week — really, even God rested on the seventh day. Or maybe you need two rest days. Maybe you need one every 10 days.

I really loved this article from Coach Jenny. She shows so clearly why it’s important to tailor your recovery to you and your personal situation.

The bottom line is to pay attention to what your body’s telling  you.

Next week I’ll be back to give you some signs that you’ve recovered enough — or haven’t. Until then, here are a few more posts about recovery:

I love these two quotes from  The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery (Amazon Affiliate link):

To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy. — Hippocrates

You have to go easy to go hard.


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


Do you even think about rest?

Do you build a rest day into your workout calendar?

Have you had a time when lack of rest had a negative impact on your life?

26 thoughts on “REST is not a 4 letter word

  1. I admit that I rarely have a day that I do nothing but I do have days that I just dance around the living room or go for a leisurely walk or do some stretching. I like to do something every day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree, I feel like rest is so important but so often neglected! I like to have one day a week (usually Monday) where I don’t have any workouts at all. Sometimes I’ll have a nice walk or recovery yoga on my rest day but that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a believer in rest days!!! This weekend we ran a 3 race challenge over 2 days and I’m taking 2 rest days. The first I did NOTHING, NADA!! Today, I plan to do my yoga video, then tomorrow I run!! I have noticed over the last couple of years that my body starts to revolt if I run 2 or more consecutive days. I’m trying to work yoga and weights in so I’m just not running ALL of the time!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally embrace my rest days. I even embraced my 3-month recovery period last summer (though I was bitterly jealous of everyone else who was running). I think there were some (several?) kinds that needed more recovery than I was giving them. Since my rally back last fall, I have pretty much been pain-free and am feeling the best I have felt in years. Rest truly does a body good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I adore my 2 weekly rest days. And my low mileage plan. I blame social media for the FOMO many feel for not running a billion races, etc. So much of it is unreasonable and some of it is downright stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I first started working our regularly a few years ago, I never took rest days. I thought that the harder and longer I worked out, the faster I would see results. As I got older and wiser, I realized how dumb that was and now i take a minimum of one rest day a week.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I usually wing it when it comes to rest, but when I start to feel too tight or achy I always try to take a few days together. As I age, I have noticed I need to do nothing…I am just taking longer and longer to recover so sometimes even doing something light seems to work against me. I also try to time rest around crappy weather days lol

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I definitely can’t function without rest days. One a week is the bare minimum…after a few weeks of that I need to switch to 2 or 3 rest days a week for a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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