Training Yourself to Rest

Happy Friday! I usually use Friday as my rest day and if you know me you know that rest is not my forte. I love the Friday morning yoga class and I almost went this morning, but I decided to stay in bed for an extra hour. Waking up at 5am has become second nature to me and when I’m up that early I figure I should do something.

I listened to the new Marathon Training Academy podcast this morning and coincidentally it is about peak performance and how to avoid burnout. It’s a good listen and it can be applied to all parts of life not just athletics. A key takeaway is that in order to perform at your best you must take time to rest and repair. Duh. We all know this, but for us Type A’s it’s not the easiest thing to do.

Also, I signed up for my first full marathon! I will be running the Rim Rock Marathon in Grand Junction, CO through the Colorado National Monument on November 4. The scenery will be hard to rival. Being in the mountains I’ll inevitably have some uphill climbs along the way. 2,500 feet of elevation gain in the first 4.5 miles to be exact.

grand_valley_trinity_small_larry_bennett 2

Colorado National Monument from the Visit Grand Junction website

I’m not even going to lie, the hills worry me. The half marathon course in Pittsburgh was hillier than I expected and I was not prepared for it. As soon as I got back from that race I started focusing more of my cross training on leg strength, and now that I’m signed up for Rim Rock leg strength will be critical.

Back to the rest thing. Yesterday I downloaded the full marathon training schedule that  I plan to use and will be starting full swing into training on July 1. I’m using Hal Higdon again. I’m modifying slightly because I like to do long runs on Sunday not Saturday, and I have the Rock and Roll half marathon a few weeks before Rim Rock. I also need to do plenty of leg and hill workouts. The one thing I’m not going to modify (even though I want to) is the two days of rest per week that the full marathon training plan includes.

One reason that running is so rewarding to me is that it’s clear to see and track progress during training. When I started running a few years ago I couldn’t even run half a mile without stopping. After my half marathon I thought “There’s no way that I could have run a full”. Now I’m signed up for a full. I trust the training process. Training is the reason I started doing this in the first place. I like the structure and I like experiencing the gains (I promise you’ll never hear me use that word again).

Progress is addicting.

This is why it’s important to explicitly work rest days into a training schedule. There are plenty of other things you can do to stay in tune with your body and feel rejuvenated on your day off.

  • Meditate
  • Try a Float Tank
  • Take a restorative Yoga class
  • Go for a Walk
  • Stretch/Foam Roll
  • Stand Up Paddleboard
  • Read
  • Dance
  • Drink Cherry Juice
  • Eat Ice Cream! Ok, there’s no science behind that one.

Your body will thank you and reward you for the time off. <–Note to self 

I’m dedicating the month of June to finding and incorporating more low impact and effective workouts into my routine so that I’m ready to rock my full marathon training starting in July.




2 thoughts on “Training Yourself to Rest

  1. Running my first full in November as well and using the same Hal Higdon (and doing my long runs on sundays, lol) we have A LOT in common! Agree that rest can be so hard to stick to. I also do yoga–so many times I will go to a class on a “rest” day and justify it by saying I am just stretching. I do Bikram though so it’s pretty intense and it takes a lot out of you. Even if I tell myself I’m just going to take it easy, sweat and just lay on the mat half the time, I never do–type A always kicks in. Anyway, enjoyed your post, look forward to following/sharing progress. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like we are running soulmates! I also love Bikram and agree it takes a lot out of you. It’s a great stretch but is it really rest?! Probably not for us 🙂 Look forward to following/sharing with you as well.


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