You may not believe it, but rest days are where the magic happens! It’s when our bodies repair, where adaptations are made, and a time when we can mentally recover from the training too. That’s why we’ve teamed up with training partners at Coopah to bring you some top advice for your rest days!
WHAT CAN YOU DO INSTEAD OF RUNNING?
We understand that you may feel the urge to run on your rest day to gain that post-exercise buzz, but you don’t have to do intense exercise everyday! It’s important to remember that your rest days are just as important, if not more, important as the rest of your training! But if you really want to do some level of activity, then the best thing you can do is something that is low impact + low intensity, like…
- Cycling (keep it short + easy!)
- Walking (again, we mean a gentle walk, not a full-blown mountain hike!)
I AM TRAINING FOR A MARATHON, SHOULD I BE EATING LESS ON REST DAYS? I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD BE, BUT I FEEL SO HUNGRY!
It’s a common misconception that you need to eat significantly less on a rest day, especially if you are training for a marathon! Your body needs fuel not only to perform, but also to build muscle, repair and generally get through day-to-day life. So just because you are not exercising on rest days, it does’nt mean you should skimp on calories!
The easiest way to try and think about it is to think of your diet + training as a block, rather than a day at a time. For example, here is how an average week of marathon training could look;
Monday – Easy 5 Mile Run
Tuesday – Rest Day
Wednesday – Interval Session
Thursday – Strength Training + Easy Run
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – Tempo Run
Sunday – Long Run
Rather than just focusing on the day itself, take a look at the day before + after as well as what your body needs. So on Tuesday, you should be thinking about fuelling for your harder run on Wednesday, and on Friday think about your recovery from a double training day on Thursday, plus a harder run on Saturday. When you think about your training like this rather than a day at a time it should make you realise how important it is to keep fuelling consistently throughout the week.
SHOULD I DO MY STRENGTH TRAINING ON MY REST DAYS?
We understand that it can be tough to sometimes fit all your training in, but in short – doing a strength workout does not count as a rest day! Even though it is not running, by lifting weights you are still loading your muscles and not giving them a chance to rest + repair. So as tempting as it can be to perhaps fit in an extra strength session on your rest days, ideally we do recommend at least one day per week where you do nothing intense or high-impact.
By all means, you can still go to the gym during a rest day, but try to stick to those low impact + low intensity workouts and rather than lifting weights focus on doing some mobility work + stretching instead.
AND FINALLY, HERE ARE JUST SOME GENERAL TIPS FROM COOPAH ABOUT HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR NON-TRAINING DAYS;
- Get more sleep – it can be tough juggling work, family life, a social life and training, and for a lot of us it can mean lots of early mornings, or late nights, to fit it all in! So on your rest days, make the most of that extra hour and have a well-deserved lie-in, or even if you just stay in bed and relax with a book (or scrolling on your phone!) + a cuppa, your body will thank you for it!
- Keep yourself busy – if you find yourself getting itchy feet on your rest days, try getting something in your calendar to keep you occupied. It could be meeting a friend for a coffee, or catching up with jobs around the house.
- Ditch your activity tracker – if you are someone who always tracks their workouts and steps you may find it really helpful to not wear your tracker on your rest days. That way you won’t be chasing a step target, or stressing about not doing enough! Instead, you can just focus on recovering and doing what feels good without thinking about your stats!
- Enjoy them! – once you start to embrace your rest days, you will learn to love them! You can use it as your day to not only rest physically, but mentally too! And just enjoy gentle exercise + movement without the pressure of having to worry about your splits, pace or mileage!
DOWNLOAD COOPAH TODAY!
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- A fully personalised training plan
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