I’m mid-way through the first week of training and I realized that I must include a complete rest day in every week. I know from previous training regimes that I like to do the bulk of the training volume in the first few days of the week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) because I like to have a lot of spare time to see friends and pursue recreation on the weekends, but equally important will be to include a rest day. Thursday, I think will be the day.
Today is Thursday and although I only had a 60-minute aerobic endurance ski session planned for the day, I’ve decided to reschedule it for Saturday as a second workout after my swim. It occurred to me this morning that the rest day gives not just physical rest but also a mental break from having such a full schedule. Maintaining one day a week where I don’t have anything I “have” to do will give me freedom to relax and discover surprising things that I enjoy doing. Unstructured time gives me creative freedom and I often find myself just hanging out, cooking and listening to the radio. Having the time to prepare a meal of whatever I want without worrying about recovery nutrition nurtures my soul. It’s also a chance to enjoy a much-coveted glass of wine.
The trick I’ve discovered with rest days is to embrace the rest and not feel guilty about it. It’s certainly not a free-for-all to lie on the couch and eat chips all day, but I do have to give myself permission to lie on the couch or to sleep-in. It’s the unstructured freedom that gives me a chance to tune in and listen to my body. My instincts will tell me what form the rest days will take. Today, a bottle of wine and a homemade pizza and a movie are what my body told me it needs.