In today’s world, most of us are looking for commonalities that unite us together as a human race. One ideal many of us have in common is the mindset that Sundays are traditionally days of rest. From experience, the same tends to be true in the running world. However, for anyone who works during the week or is on a strict time schedule, the weekend can be the best time to get in a solid long run.
When I first started running, I ran 5 days a week (M-F) and took Saturday/Sunday off. Thinking back, I don’t think I got the most out of my runs by training that way. At that point in my life, there were definitely many other factors that contributed to my lack of running at full potential, but I think moving my rest days around has absolutely helped me. Below is what my current training schedule looks like:
- Monday: REST DAY
- Tuesday: Interval training
- Wednesday: Pace run
- Thursday: Recovery run
- Friday: REST DAY
- Saturday: Tempo run or Interval training
- Sunday: Long run
There are a few reasons why I like to Rest on Mondays and Fridays. First, because it’s normal to have a case of the Monday’s. There’s something about being able to sleep in or go home right after work that makes Monday less stressful. Second, “a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays resting”. By splitting up rest days, it prevents complacency. It’s just enough time to recover, but not enough time to regress. Third, and most important, we tend to have more time on the weekends to dedicate to running. For example, I’ve found that by only running during the week, my time is limited and I am likely to stop running after 30-40 minutes. On the weekends, there is no reason why I can’t complete a 60+ minute run. Also, with more time comes more freedom. Instead of being relegated to the gym, I can run outside and try out new running trails!
Finally, you can still make Sunday a day of rest… after your run! My personal strategy is to start the run around 10:00 am. By running a bit later in the morning, I can sleep in and casually get ready, without any pressure. However, 10:00 am is still early enough, cool enough, and typically motivates me to be more productive throughout the rest of the day. I am then free to use the remainder of my Sunday to treat myself to a massage or to take a yoga class. Running endorphins + a relaxing massage or yoga class makes for a very happy and healthy Sunday that I look forward to all week.
Instead of dreading the end of the weekend – embrace it and use it to refuel both physically and mentally. Treat yourself to dessert (guilt free), get a massage, or just do whatever makes you happiest!
Leave a comment below – What are your rest days, and how do you use them to recover?