Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dealing with Rest Days

Disclaimer: This is a sensitive subject in the realm of people with EDs, and I get a little into it, so if you don't feel comfortable or ready to read on this subject, give me a visit maƱana!

This has been on my mind lately, especially considering this is the first Saturday in a month that I
haven't had a meet, and since my long run got cancelled, and there's a very rainy, dreary, forecast after a week of beautiful weather.

I got up this morning, ate breakfast, and promptly began thinking about when/where I'll be able to fit my long run in today. Well, I don't drive, ergo cannot go to the gym, and I do not have a treadmill, ergo there is no running for me to do today. What? So what am I supposed to do with myself? 

I've been practicing and running practically every single day for almost two months (say wha?!?!), so taking a day off really didn't occur to me in that moment. Yeah, my legs are a little sore, but what else is new? I even tried to plan on what I would do while doing nothing. OCD, for the win.

(Let's be honest, these workouts have been way more intense than what I'm used to, and a lot of my time is practice, eat, sleep, repeat. I never took naps before XC!)

Rest days are essential for athletes, but sometimes adding in an extra rest day is difficult, especially for athletes, and especially for athletes with exercise/anxiety history. Ironic, huh?

In my past, taking a rest day was practically unheard of for me unless there was literally no way I could exercise (and I almost always found a way). I thought I would automatically gain weight, be lazy, and just overall felt awful about myself and body, which completely irrational and illogical thinking. I also always felt like crap - now I've learned a lot, know more about myself and my body, and know when and why rest days are so important for me, mentally and physically. Here's some indicators that I had a "take-it-easy day" coming on, even without the rain check:

1. Soreness.  My last two runs, although nice and short, left my legs feeling exhausted, sore, and cramping. Shin splints, anyone?

2. I've been run-down. I've never taken naps before xc, and I'm sure being run-down is a combo of things, but a 3-mile easy-paced run should not exhaust me so much. I've just been really tired and need to catch up on my energy.

3. I've been a lil cranky! See nombre dos. Yes friends, yet another thing makes me cranky. I'm just a little grump when I'm overworked, what can I say?

4. My stomach hurts. I ate out twice in a row yesterday, and not at the most quality restaurants (Chic-fil-e and Canyon's Burgers....yeah....), which I'm pretty sure is contributing to my less-than-stellar appetite right now. Who wants to run with a tummy ache, anyways?

I feel like a lot of people experience "exercise guilt," but they're not entirely sure why. In the past, and we're venturing to Ed-land here, I had a lot lot lot of guilt when I couldn't exercise the way I thought I should. But news-flash, friends: exercise is not the end all-be all, even for athletes!

I'll admit that it would be pretty dang easy for me to allow myself to feel that guilt. Excuses are easy to come up with - coach says run every day, wanna keep up my endurance, running is mah life, I feel fine, yada yada - but I've come far enough to be honest with myself and be okay with just doing...nothing. Sometimes your leggies just need a break!

I work hard every practice, and I know for a fact that I have a hard workout coming on Monday.

Moral of the story: taking rest days is taking care of yourself. You know when you need it, and it's not logical to think that you have to work hard every. single. day. We're only human - I know most of us would go a lil crazy if we had to work super hard all the time! So do yourself a favor.

Do nothing every once in a while. I promise, it's worth it.

Peace out, girl scouts!


  1. I've definitely dealt with guilt on rest days. But like you, I've learned to embrace rest days and give my body what it needs. I think my body really appreciates it, because I tend to perform better during my workouts when I'm recharged!

    1. Exactly! I always take advantage of easy days by going SUPER easy, because it really does enhance my performance at races/longer runs. Plus, it's good mentally not to really "think" about exercise every day. Thanks for visiting! :)