Tag Archives: rest days

Rest Days: Not a Waste of Life

Truth: I’m writing this post mostly for myself. I’ve been having a heck of a time taking rest days lately. I’ve declared 2014 my “year of speed,” and I want to get fast faster. Even though I know better, some little part of my brain tells me to stop being “lazy” and get in a workout to speed up the speeding up. So in order to remind myself (and you, of course) why it’s so important to rest and recover, I compiled quotes from people who know a lot more about running than I do.

Why rest days are necessary

  • “Optimal Stress + Optimal Rest = Optimal Progress.” (Guy Avery, quoted by Greg McMillan in You, Only Faster, p. 233)
  • “Too many runners ‘under-rest’ after hard training and racing and thus stunt their fitness progress. . . . We get excited about training and train too hard, too soon, and too often, resulting in escalating fatigue and injuries.” (Greg McMillan in You, Only Faster, p. 233)
  • “A day off every seven to 14 days restocks glycogen stores, builds strength, and reduces fatigue. Without recovery, adaptation may occur short-term, but ultimately it will fail.” (Ed Eyestone, in this Runner’s World article)

  • “All runners need rest, of course. Even the fittest and most experienced runners can get into trouble if they try to go more than four weeks or so without a solid rest day.” (Matt Fitzgerald, in this Competitor article).
  • “Rest days are as vital as training days. They give your muscles time to recover so you can run again. Actually, your muscles will build in strength as you rest. Without recovery days, you will not improve.” (Hal Higdon, here)
  • “If you train too hard on a scheduled recovery day, then you’ll be a bit too tired for your next hard day, and that workout won’t go as well as planned. If you’re like most runners, you’ll be ticked off, and you’ll run your next scheduled recovery day a bit harder. So begins a vicious cycle . . . . The result is mediocre performances in training and racing.” (Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas, in  Advanced Marathoning, 2nd edition, p. 61-62, italics mine).

Oh. Mediocrity is just what I wanted to avoid, isn’t it? So, have we all learned something here today? Yes. When the plan says rest, REST!

Do you struggle with rest days, or do you like them? 

What’s your favorite way to spend a rest day?