Welcome to Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I post a new Triathlon specific workout. (for free, What a Country!) If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)
Sorry for the misleading title, but when you think about it, rest is the hardest workout. It instills fear in us that if we take a day off, we will become fat and slow overnight. In reality is takes up to two weeks of inactivity before you start to lose your fitness.
Two years ago I had a heavy training year for me. When I looked back at my training log at the end of the year. I took three full rest days the entire year. What? That’s not right. I also become over trained twice that year, and was sick more than normal.
Rest is an important part of the training program. Rest days should be treated just like workouts, and performed with the same focus. The benefits of rest and recovery are:
- Avoiding Overuse Injuries
- Restoring Glycogen to your muscles
- Avoiding mental burnout
- Actually spending time with your friends and family
Here’s the nasty things that come with NO rest or recovery:
- Over training
- Inadequate Sleep
- Slow recovery
- Lack of sex drive
(I’ve experienced all of these, but not all at the same time.)
Unless you are a full time athlete with no other obligations or stressors in your life you will need 1-2 rest days a week. Ideally one of those days should be complete rest, and the other one can be active recovery.
Active recovery workouts:
- 30 min jog @ 50% HR
- Walk with your significant other
- Bike ride with your kids
- Light cross training
- Netflix binge watching marathon
- Sit on the beach with cool beverage
- Sleeping in past 5:30am
I can hear the little mental objects swirling in your head. ” But I’m a triathlete and I need to get in all of these workouts.” If you want to improve consistently, and not burnout or have a higher risk of injury, rest has to be a priority as well. Schedule your training weeks to include the rest days. If you miss a workout because of a overly busy day, don’t worry about making it up, use it as a rest day. Also, if you are are plateauing in your progress, step back and see if more recovery will help, before piling on more work and intensity.
One last thing. The more outside stress you have in your life the more important the rest and recovery. During times of high stress, listen to your body and try not to just push through. These times are the highest risk for burnout and over training.