Crafting the perfect rest day
The longer I get into my running journey (which is really just a polite way of saying, the older I get), the more value I see in, and the more appreciation I have of, rest days.
Back in the day, maybe 10 years ago when I started exercising again regularly and really feel in love with it, I used to feel guilty to take days off. I thought the key to improving was to go all guns blazing and that resting was for wimps. I was incorrect..
Now that I'm training harder than ever and asking my body to "pretty please do very difficult things", I wouldn't dream of skipping my rest day, or even worry about taking more than one per week. I genuinely believe that recovery does actually improve fitness, not the opposite as I used to think.
So with that in mind, here's some of my favourite tips for crafting the perfect rest day. This lot works for me :)
Don't skimp on the food. Going hungry on rest days is a no no for me. Eat enough and fuel your body's repairing process. Protein and carbs and all that good stuff.
Actually rest. I often don't even hit 10k steps on my rest day in an effort to keep the legs nice and chilled. I will always get some sort of a walk in to stay loose, but rarely anything crazy.
Hydration. I make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water but especially on rest days. I like to think it helps give my tired body an extra hand in recovery.
Epsom salts. I have baths constantly, but it's Epsom salt baths all the way on rest days. I also like using magnesium flakes.
Foam roll and stretch. I stretch everyday but usually save the horror of foam rolling the rest days!! Hurts so good. Or, let's be honest, it just hurts!!
Check for niggles. Things tend to settle a bit for me on rest days so I think to have a bit of a body scan and see what's what and try and treat anything new or weird. Voltarol and Deep Heat are my friends on days like this!
Visualisation. My usual rest days are Fridays and I often have a parkrun the day after or key run on the Sunday. I find having a quiet time to run through (haha) the upcoming weekend really helpful. And to reflect a bit on the week so far.
This week I get the extra treat of two rest days, today and tomorrow, as it's Brighton Half on Sunday! I hope my tips are useful, let me know yours!