When to rest?
“How many rest days do I need?”, “How do I know when I’m doing too much?” and “Why do I feel so guilty about resting?”.
I’m going to try speak about this without using too much medical jargon or brain boggling words. Going to try keep it simple. Because it is simple.
Why are rest days associated with negative feelings, guilt and shame?
They should be positive, uplifting and refreshing. RECHARGING.
I think training/exercising/racing has been complicated by many factors, social media, exercise and training/tracking apps. Even our training “groups” put massive pressure on us and our sensitive minds. Whilst all of these have many benefits there are also pitfalls.
With the focus always being on numbers, graphs, comparisons and percentages, have we forgotten about our own systems. Our brain, our senses, our feelings, our limbs. Yes, if you don’t already know, we were born with our own internal measuring system. Have we forgotten how to listen/read our own body?
With the introduction of systems such as Strava/Training Peaks/ Instagram (because when we train, we have to post) and whatever other apps there may be, there has definitely become a skewed perception of the word “rest”.
These apps introduce all types of pressure. Pressure to PERFORM, pressure to be KEEP UP, pressure to be HARD CORE, pressure to always be 1 STEP AHEAD, otherwise why even do it? Pressure to PUSH your body to the EXTREME, pressure for PB’s (personal bests), pressure to just generally GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING EVERYDAY BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE EXPOSED TO WHEN YOU SCROLL THROUGH IT ALL. AND THE CAPS LOCK IS JUST TO PROVE HOW CAPITAL LETTERS AND BIG WORDS MAY INFLUENCE YOU OR MAKE YOU FEEL BAD BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT OUT THERE TRAINING TO THE MAX!!!!!!!!!! BOOM! I wouldn’t usually say that (boom) but I’m sure you get my drift by now and I hope I got the message across. If you are one of these people that feel like you are being pressurized by one of the above, you need to learn to disconnect from the online world.
I often catch myself getting caught up in “too much”. Luckily for me I have my experience of burn out and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) that constantly reminds me to slow down. The problem is, you really don’t want to get to the stage that I got to because it’s not a good place to be and it can take forever to recover from it. When I started to suffer with the symptoms of a heart problem, no app, no coach and no numbers picked this up. This is part of the reason why I try educate my patients and people in general about how important it is to “get to know” the body you live in. People are different. We all respond to exercise loading plans and stress in different ways. Our bodies coping mechanisms are all different. We all have our “off” days, some longer than others. Get to know yourself!
So back to the big question, when do you rest?
I recently came across a post on a triathlon group on Facebook. It had me in mild shock. It was someone asking about rest. To a group of TRIATHLETES!!!On FACEBOOK! If you’re a triathlete or know a triathlete, then you will definitely know that they have big issues with rest. Triathletes are common culprits for over training. I decided to scroll through a couple of groups, which had similar questions and formulated the list below.
The answers were as follows:
Whilst working with athletes I have picked up on a few things that may help you to determine whether you need to rest: