Every other article I see these days is based on sleep. It’s all about how important sleep is – how much we should be getting – the dangers of not getting enough – you are gaining weight because you are not sleeping. Blah, blah blah.
Ok – I do actually believe all of those things. Sleep is SO important – but so is rest. And by that I mean actual rest days. Your triathlon training plan is filled with time in the pool, on your bike and on your feet running. And – if you are super dedicated to your body you are also weaving in some strength training and yoga. Whew ……. But where is the rest?
REST – I used to love when that showed up on a training day. Guilty and anxious – but I actually loved those days. Some people (not naming names, but you know who you are) would feel AWFUL on rest days – wanting to go out and get faster and better …. But you know what? REST is going to make you faster and better and less injured!
Here are four things that rest will do for you.
Promotes Muscle Building and Repair
When you take a rest day, you allow your muscles to repair themselves. Only when you create an adaption that your body has to overcome, through recuperation, can you start to get faster and stronger. It’s the only way to improve. When you exercise too hard, too often, without a break, you’re not allowing your body to repair itself, and it will only get weaker—not stronger.
Helps you Compete Better
When you give yourself time to recover from training, you’ll see better results come race day. You’ll probably set some new personal bests because your body and mind will both be fully rested. You’ll feel good through all three legs of the race. You won’t be tired, and you’ll lower your chances of injury.
Prevents Injuries and Repairs Your Body
Taking a rest day is important if you feel an injury coming on. Focus on straightening out your posture, increase your balance or muscle mobility, or get a massage or soak in a bath to ease aching muscles. Do what you have to do to repair your body and prevent injuries before they occur or you’ll be stuck in the recovery period for a whole lot longer than just one rest day.
Prevents Mental Burnout
When you train, train, and train nonstop, you put yourself at a higher risk of mental burnout. You need to relieve yourself from the mental stresses of continuous training and worrying about your performance. When you exercise you deplete the macro-nutrients that your brain needs to overcome stress hormones. You need to let your brain recover from these strains by going out with friends, meditating or doing yoga, or simply going to the park. Let your mind focus on something other than triathlon training for a little while. It might be just the boost you need to get some renewed motivation.
So – circle those rests days with a big gold star and take them! You will be glad that you did!
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!