This post is in partnership with Pukka Herbs.
You upload your run, your yoga class, your weights session on to Instagram, but somehow the photo of you kicking back on the sofa with a cup of tea and stack of biscuits never made it on…
In a world where doing it all, achieving more, conquering everything is king, we don’t talk about (or prioritise) rest enough. Recovery. Self care. There are run steaks galore, hashtags and Insta accounts that promote ‘running every damn day’, some of which I think promote overtraining and underplay the need for downtime.
I recently read a blog about the best workouts for a rest day. ERM… if you’re working out, it isn’t a rest day! I’m not talking about active recovery, where you’ll do something less intense that you do on your training days. For example going for an easy bike ride, swim or walk when you usually pound the pavement or hit the weights area. Yes going for a walk is lovely, but if that walk is 12 miles, then it is not a rest day. Furthermore, in my opinion, not having a rest day is unsustainable.
I found the #RestDayBrags on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and love the idea behind it. It is all about glorifying the rest day, and sharing it as the important aspect of successful training that it is.
I think people are scared to take rest days or admit to taking them as they think it’s being lazy, that they are missing out on training progress or that taking a day off will mean they’ll lose fitness. Actually the opposite is true. In order to make gains, we need to let our bodies process and adapt from your training. Inflammation and cortisol in the body decrease and you let your body and mind recover from the previous week of work.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how we should all think of ourselves as athletes. That means resting like athletes do. Inadequate recovery leads to over-tracing which can reduce performance level, fatigue, changes in hormones, insomnia, changes in appetite and mental health issues.
The amount of rest we need varies depending on the intensity of training, although the American College of Sports Medicine recommends waiting 48 hours between sessions on the same muscle group. I’m interpreting that as 48 hours between hard running sessions, and easier sessions between. For example, I’ll do my track workout on the Tuesday and a tempo session on a Thursday or Friday, then long run on a Saturday or Sunday. Monday is usually my full rest day!
Not only does a full rest day help promote recovery, reduction in inflammation, but for those of us that training is not our full time job, it gives us a chance for balance. Many people do their long runs on Saturdays and take Sundays off fully to spend time with family, to let their hair down on a Saturday night with a few drinks without worrying about an early start the next day.
Stress + Rest = Growth
I still like to look after my body on my rest days, usually having a bath using Epsom salts, eating well (with a piece of cake or two thrown in with my cup of tea) and getting plenty of sleep. It’s also a great day for a sports massage – I go to Function 360 Physiotherapy for mine. (see end of the post for 20% off their marathon package!)
I’ve been loving the Pukka Turmeric Active tea lately, and had it with a little Manuka honey in while we were in New Zealand (trust me, it’s delicious). Let me also just say that this is not a Teatox which I am totally against and wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. Pukka herbal teas are medicinal grade quality herbal teas that are designed to utilise the natural properties of the ingredients to soothe, relax, energise or calm you. Their English Breakfast and Earl Grey are staples in our cupboard.
But back to the turmeric…
You’ve probably seen turmeric lattes all over Instagram, it seems to be the superfood of the moment. And for good reason. Studies have shown that Turmeric may help reduce inflammation within the body by lowering levels of inflammatory enzymes, and studies have also shown that it can increase production of detoxifying enzymes. This study showed that Turmeric helped reduce the symptoms of arthritis, in particular, osteoarthritis. Additionally, it has been linked to treatment of depression in this study.
I’ve been using the Pukka turmeric Active 35 Oil as studies have also looked into the absorption of turmeric transdermally (through the skin), in the same way a Magnesium bath is one of the most effective ways of increasing your Magnesium levels. The oil is designed to be massaged into muscles to alleviate joint and muscle inflammation. It’s great to use it on the days after a run or those days where you let your body recover.
I’ve read that overtraining is like dehydration, by the time you notice, it’s already too late. That is to say, by the time you’re exhausted, you should have already put in a rest day. So even if you don’t feel overtrained, perhaps it’s time to look at your schedule and make sure you have some downtime in there…
And join me in sharing your REST DAY BRAGS, and don’t forget to tag me in your pics.
I’ve actually put together a package with Function 360 Physiotherapy that includes a 1hr consultation, 3 strength & mobility sessions with homework and 3 sports massages – email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about THERUNNERBEANS package. I don’t get any money from the package, in fact you guys just save money as they’ve knocked 20% off their usual price for you guys!