There is one commandment that regularly shows up on lists of “10 Commandments for Runners” and that is:
“Remember to Keep Holy The Rest Day.”
Well, find me a confessional, for I have sinned. It has been 29 Days since I signed up for the Spartan 30 Day Challenge of running (or walking) at least one mile per day for 30 days. I have kept to the challenge. I have run in snow. I have run on ice. I have run in the bitter cold. I have (reluctantly) run on the treadmill. I have even run in snowshoes. I have chosen to run instead of walk all but 1 day, when I had a root canal repaired (yes, that is as horrible as it sounds). On almost all of the days, I have run more than the required one mile or have combined the mile with a spin session on my bike.
I have stretched. I have slept well. I have eaten (pretty) well. I have taken my vitamins. And I still feel like a broken down jalopy. Aches, pains, creaks, tightness? Check, check, check check. I feel like an 80 year old woman when I get out of bed in the morning. It ain’t pretty.
If I didn’t believe in rest days before, well, consider me converted. My mileage has not been terribly high – nothing like the mileage I was running last summer and fall. The main difference in my training this past month has been the lack of rest days. And what an impact it has had on my body. Despite my tendencies to overdo just about everything, I have always been pretty good about taking rest days, at least until this 30-day challenge. I always knew I felt better after a rest day, but never envisioned how poorly I would feel without them . Until now. Ouch.
After this challenge wraps up tomorrow, I’ll be back to regular rest days, for sure.
I’ve done the reading; I’ve done the research. Rest days are good for all sorts of things, such as prevention of injuries, joint recovery, glycogen restoration and avoidance of mental burnout.
But no amount of research can drive the point home more than feeling like hell does.
Consider this a warning, couch: we have a lengthy date on Thursday.