How often do you REST?

I love reading other running blogging friend’s race recaps, and there have been so many this week! Between the weekend at the Runner’s World races, Detroit and Columbus Marathons, Army ten-miler and more, there were some fantastic race reports and new prs  (Robin, Kelly, Terzah, Katherine, Mandy, and Corey rocked her 70.3 triathlon , just to name a few).   There is nothing like crushing a big goal, as these amazing ladies have done (among so many others- wish I could list you all).

These recaps get me so excited and inspired! In the process of my own goal setting, I was reflecting on Robin’s post about slowing down.  Her coach has her taking off an entire week post-race, and I was reminded of the importance of resting.  We often think MORE is the way to get stronger and faster, and forget the power of our rest day(s).

How often do you rest?

Most coaches recommend that runners take at least one complete day off, and a few days of cross training or mixing easy running days with hard days.  Resting itself is an important part of becoming a stronger runner! It allows us to Recover, regain Enthusiasm, Sleep and Train again.


Giving your joints a break from the pounding allows them to recover to prevent overuse injuries, soreness or inflammation.


The time off is an important mental break, so you are less likely to burn out and lose your motivation.


Sleep aids recovery and can enhance running performance, and boosts your immunity.  Taking at least one day to catch up on sleep will benefit your training more than pushing your body for another morning workout.


Proper rest and recovery allows your muscles time to repair, rebuild, and strengthen to improve your speed, endurance and strength when you’re ready to train again.

Rest means more family time

And to be a balanced, healthy person, rest is imperative in all areas of life, not just running.  I try to carve out time each week to rest from the other things that I love, but can be draining without a break:

  • blogging, computer time and social media
  • my endless to-do list
  • parenting (daddy-daughter time!)
  • cooking

Most of the time, Sunday is my day to rest from the normal “chores” of daily life.  And I’m currently taking Fridays as my rest day from training.

Is there a set day that you take “off”? What other things do you rest from?

57 thoughts on “How often do you REST?

  1. Great post and reminder about the importance of the rest Laura!!! Thanks for the shout out too! I’m still excited about that first 26.2!

    I take 1 day each week completely off from all things workout related: running, ST, etc. I’m only allowed to walk the dog that day. I take one additional running rest day as well where I XT/ST. On weeks with really long runs, that extra running rest day sometimes becomes a full rest day. 😉
    Mandy recently posted..Columbus Marathon RecapMy Profile

  2. I always need this reminder – my of the other women at my gym work out 5 days a week, but I told my trainer that he had to give me 6 or I’d do it anyway. when he told me I have to take 4 days off post-competition I definitely balked. I just can’t sit still that long! But yes, rest is a good thing. And I really needed this, so thank you. 🙂
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..The Good, the Bad, and the StrangeMy Profile

  3. Sunday is usually my complete rest day, Monday & Wednesday I teach cycle, and was running Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday until my leg wigged out on me. Now I’m only running long on Saturday and hoping it’s enough to help me finish my marathon in two weeks. I’m sure it won’t even be close to the time I’d been planning to finish in. I can definitely vouch that rest days prevent injury and overdoing it doesn’t help you reach your goals! Perfect time of year for this post!

    • Awesome! I always rested everything on Sunday too, although the last few months we’ve started our day with an easy family jog so I take a complete physical rest day on Friday. Love lazy Sundays to recharge!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  4. I am a firm believer in at least one rest day. It’s a great mental and physical re-set. I typically like to take my rest days on Friday, but if I need them sooner, I’ll gladly take it. I’ve pretty much stopped blogging on the weekends and try to spend little time online on the weekends. So Sat/Sun are computer breaks and just trying to enjoy that short little weekend we get.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Running, Yoga, No Taper Crazies and PotatoesMy Profile

  5. First, thanks for the shout out.

    I really think rest has helped me the past 6 months improve in everything. I don’t have a scheduled rest day every week. Some weeks I don’t even have a day off. But, my workouts are all different efforts and some are much lower impact and have allowed my overtrained legs a well needed break from running.

    And a GOOD break once a year, while I don’t want to do it, I do think is the right idea. Burning out is very easy to do especially when we see other people doing intense training and we try to copy it. That little break allows us to refocus.

    And I love the idea of having a Mommy break on Sundays. My mommy break was last weekend in Bethlehem. I don’t have time on a weekly basis to take time off from everything so I allowed myself a total weekend off of life. It really helped to refocus my thinking in everything.

    Long comment, I’m sorry….But, yes, I do plan on going back to Runner’s World next year. I may talk my husband into it so that I can share the town with him.
    Robin recently posted..Race Recap of Runner’s World Half Marathon 2012My Profile

    • I like long comments, no need to apologize. 🙂 Thanks for sharing- yes, I think a long annual break is really smart. I’m trying to figure out when that should be for me. And I’d love to see you at the RW half next year!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  6. I normally take a full week off after running a marathon (I’m 47). Occasionally I don’t and that’s if there another race coming up and then I’ll run a little the first week but not much. When I’m training I take 2 complete rest days a week as well. I think rest is underated by a lot of runners both before and after big races.
    Robin recently posted..Marathon #8 is Done!My Profile

  7. Love this. I do always take at least one day off each week. It’s not usually a weekend day, it’s usually a day during the week that gets super crazy.

    I talk to my kids frequently about the need for sleep. How our bodies use the time to heal and how we feel so much better after a good night of sleep. Speaking of which, I fell asleep on the couch last night at 9:15. I think I was tired. recently posted..5 Tips for New BloggersMy Profile

  8. I love my rest! I try for at least 2 days. Although sometimes rest days include fun things like hiking and swimming. I’ve got to work on the sleep thing. My bed time is getting later and wake up is getting earlier! Gah!!!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..TGIF!!!!My Profile

  9. Thanks for the post and the kind reminder of the importance of rest. I currently rest about 1-2 days a week. It is a combination of listening to the body as well as work driven.

    One of my running friends and I chatted last night during a warm-up and we both agree that the work schedules that we have somewhat promoted a weekend running binge. Friday, Saturday and Sunday became the only convenient time to get lots of mileage in. Since I do most of my long runs on Saturday, the recovery run on Sunday is somewhat a very low intensity one. This leaves me with really only quality workouts for Tuesday, Thursday and Long Run.

    Your post nudged me to sign up for my gym membership again. I realized that I missed pilates and the access to spin bike.

    As for this week…as I am typing this, I am resting Friday and Saturday in anticipation to my first fall Half marathon on Sunday. I am excited!

    • Yes, work makes it easier to take a week day rest day, rather than the weekend. Glad you’re taking two rest days before the half- can’t wait to hear about it, and hopefully I see you on the course!!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  10. I’ve written about this before, but I LOVE my rest day! It’s pretty much Monday of every week and I look forward to it mentally as well as physically. I get caught up on so much and then I’m ready to face the week of training feeling fresh. I do occasionally swim on my day off, but that’s so much easier on your body than running. Love your acronym, by the way!
    misszippy recently posted..Feeling a bit like Lance ArmstrongMy Profile

  11. Great post! Definitely caught my attention given that I am in taper mode now for NYC. I have at least one full rest day a week- but often two full days- depending on workouts etc. I just go with how I feel and it seems like every 5 days or so needs to be completely off. I will also schedule my easy and recovery days as needed around my hard track or tempo runs or even long runs. Looking back at my current NYC training cycle the day I usually took off was Sunday but this past month I’ve ended up putting in some long runs in on that day. My schedule tends too be flexible as working around childcare (while I run) AND listening to my body are the two biggest factors I deal with! 🙂

    Love the acronym and the picture of you and your compression socks! Cute, cute!
    Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Another 5K? and NYC- 10 days and counting!!My Profile

    • I’ve learned that my schedule needs to be more flexible too, based on our schedules, child care, and how my body is feeling. I’m so excited for you with NYC right around the corner!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  12. A great reminder to make time for rest, especially since forced rest (due to injury) sucks!
    I take at least 1 day off each week. Two if I can manage it. And I try and alternate high intensity workout days with moderate intensity days. I find I need more rest, the older I get 😉
    Tamara recently posted..#FatblasterFriday | Hi-Lo LEGS Workout!My Profile

    • Yes- forced rest is awful. It’s so much smarter to give our bodies the rest they need each week and help prevent injuries. I’m finding I need more rest than I used to as well!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  13. Thank you for the shout-out, Laura!

    Rest is very much on my mind, too. I always take Sundays off of all exercise (except a walk if I feel like it….but I don’t feel guilty if I DON’T feel like it). I’m also working on getting into bed very early whenever I can, something I don’t think I took seriously enough in the past. And I just woke up from an amazing and much needed nap, which I can take because my kids are now in kindergarten. My runs are often very early in the morning and I think naps help me recover from them.

    Running is my usual break from parenting, especially my Saturday morning long runs. And while I wasn’t happy about being injured earlier this year, an upside of it was that I had a break from running and was so happy to return to it that I think I was smarter about everything.

    All this said, I’m nursing a bit of an unhappy right hamstring post-race, so I’m trying some rest of a different kind for it. Fingers crossed!
    Terzah recently posted..Race Notes for CIMMy Profile

    • Fingers crossed for you and your hamstring! Yes, I am really appreciating naps more these days, too. I almost always get one on Saturdays after a long run. Unfortunately, L is now starting to fight naps, so we’ll see what happens in these years before kindergarten!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  14. Good post! You are right REST is soo important. I usually take Monday off since I usually do a long run on Sunday. It seems to work best for me but I’m pretty lenient with my schedule and if I feel I need rest, I take it.
    Kris recently posted..My First "Real" Spin ClassMy Profile

    • It’s definitely worth a try! Having a set rest day works for me, then I can plan for it and enjoy it. Or even just a set few hours, like no social media/ blogging Sunday afternoon until kids are in bed, etc… hope you can find something that works for you!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  15. Great topic!
    There are different kinds of rest.

    I plan on taking a seasonal rest after my flurry of 5ks is over..but I keep trying to extend it out. Eventually, I will take a rest of at least 3 days, maybe a week.

    I want to be pro-active about it. It is hard to do! A lot of us fear losing fitness, but it is so easily re-gained. Injuries take longer to heal and leave you with unexpected time-outs. My plan is to take about a week after thanksgiving day. See if I stick to it!

    As far as weekly rest, a lot depends on what I am training for. I might only be taking a full day off every 10-14 days right now, but a rest day might also be a light workout just to get recovered from the last intense one.
    Love the photo and acronym!
    Raina recently posted..A win is a win…(Mat Dawg Fall 5k)My Profile

    • Yes- the seasonal rest is something I haven’t practiced very well in the past, and I know my body would benefit from it. Interestingly enough, I think that would fall in July or August for me, which is the time I’ve dealt with some kind of injury both of the last two years! Maybe not a coincidence?!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  16. Great post! I usually take the weekends off as my rest days and Sundays are usually my “off from daily chores” day, too (thanks to my lovely husband!)! Lately, I have been increasing the intensity of my workouts to get ready for an upcoming competition, so I’ve been taking Thursdays off as a rest day, especially if I have done a “double-day” of two grueling WODs in one day.
    Melissa @ Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy recently posted..Friday FavoritesMy Profile

  17. Such an important reminder to take a rest from EVERYTHING, not just training. I will confess I’m pretty good at taking rests in all of the above, just not on the same day!
    Jan recently posted..Misc. Photo DumpMy Profile

  18. I always take Fridays off, but lately, that day has sort of shifted as to whenever I can fit it in. For example, my husband is out of town this weekend, and I have to use the hourly drop-in childcare place in town for my kids so I can get my long run done. I had to shift my schedule around, so my rest day is now tomorrow. I have to be flexible because our schedule is always so crazy!

    Great job on your 10-mile race too. I was able to catch up on blogs, so I wanted to let you know I saw your race report. 🙂
    Allison @ Johnson Jocks recently posted..I’m Lame!My Profile

    • Hi friend! Thank you for the race congrats. 🙂 Yes- I’m realizing life with kids requires a lot of flexibility too. I like having a set schedule, but there are many weeks where something gets switching around!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  19. Even though I hate rest days, I know that I need them. Not so much now because I don’t consider myself really working out or training for anything. However, if I am training for a marathon I always take 2 recovery day runs- super slow pace- and one day off entirely. The day off is usually on Saturday allowing me to recovery from my tough tempo workout on Friday before my long run on Sunday.
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Friday Favorites: Costume Halloweenie RacesMy Profile

    • That’s so smart to take two recovery run days. I’m only running 3-4 days a week, so generally only one of them is a recovery day, but I am realizing that I can burn out even on fewer days of running if I’m not building in the easy runs!
      Laura recently posted..How often do you REST?My Profile

  20. Friday is always my rest day – no workouts and just relaxing after work. I find that I’m recharged and ready to take on the weekends when I’m well rested after Friday.

  21. Great post and a good reminder! I usually rest on Monday because Sunday is a longer run and Monday at work kicks my butt and I just want to go home and veg out a bit. I rest from cooking 3 days out the the week, relying instead on vegetables, fruits and pre-cooked meals. I need to start resting from over-snacking, as it has been running rampant lately!
    Travel Spot recently posted..Then and Now: OctoberMy Profile

  22. Loving your blog! Quick note: I wrote you an email about two weeks ago, would love to get your feedback and/or any tips and advice! (no rush though- I’m a mom too, I get it). 😉

    I loved this post. I guess you could say I am training for my first half marathon at the end of September. I’ve been overall consistent with running over a year now. Each week, either Saturday or Sunday I do my my long run 8-10 miles. Longest yet was 9.45 miles. I’m hoping to do a 10 miler this weekend. I also just got back into yoga three weeks ago and go about twice a week-it’s hot yoga but I love it and the stretching feels so good! A few months back I was better with doing 20-30 min dumbbell circuits for strength training but struggling lately to fit those in at least twice a week as well. I’m mainly going with how I feel each day and what our family schedule looks like.

    Both my husband and I work from home (different careers though) but I go into the office 2-3 days a week. I only run early morning, usually around 5am. So it’s mainly with what our week looks like and coordination with our 2 year old daughter. I really think the yoga is helping, there is also a 30 min. yoga core flow class they offer that’s great. I’m trying to schedule that class in once a week as well if available. Most nights of the week I am always in bed by either 9 or 10pm at the latest. I’d say I’m getting a solid 7 hours most nights and i’m fine with that. I’m also a big believer in naps; even a 20 min. cat nap is so rejuvenating! So, typically on weekends if I can, and really feel like I should, I’ll try to sneak a cat nap in.

    A typical week for my ‘training’ and exercise schedule looks like this:
    Monday- 5k on treadmill or dumbbell circuit at gym ( depending if I go in office or not that day)
    Tuesday- Typically just do 3 miles on treadmill at gym and get ready for work there. Or sometimes 1 hr hot yoga instead of gym. (530am)
    Wednesday- work from home. 4-6 mile run early morning outside.
    Thursday- work from home- early morning dumbbell circuit before 2 year old wakes up. Or I typically take Thursdays as a full rest day because that’s the only day my husband goes in the office but he leaves around 5am to beat the traffic since it’s an hr. drive.
    Friday- 5k on treadmill at gym before work or core yoga class (530am)
    Saturday- long run 8-10 miler
    Sunday- long run if I didn’t do it on Saturday, rest day or yoga in the AM.


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