Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 5: Fine. I will take a rest day.

Rest days. Runners either appreciate them or hate them. I’m not sure if any runners LOVE rest days but there probably is at least one weird runner person out there that does. Although I would argue that they aren’t really a runner if they love the days where they aren’t running but I frequently find myself alone in the “This is what runners are like” camp.

Me taking a rest, just not on a rest day!
It should come as no shock to anyone who has met me that I hate rest days. I hated rest days before I was a runner when rest days took the form of vacations and weekends. Back then they would call me a workaholic and I would always counter with ‘No, it’s a strong work ethic’ but really I just like doing stuff ALL THE TIME.

So before you say “Oh Andrea, you need to relax, what you are doing is not healthy blah blah blah meow meow meow.” First, let me rant for a bit. HEY! Don’t act shocked, the word rant is in the name of this blog.

I have wasted too much time on this planet listening to what people tell me I should be doing with myself. I have tried to relax (whatever that means) and honestly I think it goes against every fiber of my being. I kind of think I’m like a shark that if I stop moving I will die.

And please don’t be that person who says to me “Oh well Andrea you just need to hang out with me more because I’m super chill and everyone who hangs out with me relaxes.” I think it is probably just best you accept that I might actually know myself better than you think you know me. And although I do find it amusing that you think you have that much influence over me that you could change one of my innate characteristics, I actually more just find you annoying and self-important.

And there can be only one self-important person here and she is writing this blog post.

Rant complete. Now that we have that out of the way, onto the point of this blog post: Rest days and why I now take them (reluctantly).

First off let me say that I don’t run every day, I do take at least one day off from running a week. Oh, except for that one time when I ran 9 days in a row because I bought a new pair of runners and really wanted to try them out and for some reason the day I tried them out had to be on my rest day. But other than that, I don’t run every day. But apparently, and I just found this out from my coach, I have not taken an actual rest day since I’ve started running.

Confused? Yeah, so was I! When my coach first told me when I would be taking rest days, I berated him with questions because I needed clarification as to “what is a rest day?”

Below is how that conversation went.

Coach: Take two rest days this week, Friday and Sunday.

Andrea: So when you say "rest day” do you mean no running? Or no cardio of any kind? I kind of like to do cardio of some sort when I'm not running like rowing or elliptical.

Coach: 'Rest' means no running. You can do any other cardio on those days, but if it's a rest day on our schedule I want to make sure you aren't adding impact to your legs. I do think it's valuable keeping one day per week as complete rest, from any aerobic work. 

Andrea: So I'm going to assume not adding impact to the legs on rest days means not going for 10k walks but short little walks are ok? Would impact on the legs include strength training that is focusing on the legs? Like lunges for instance?

Coach: I don't think I'd do lunges on your rest days - part of the point of them is to give your legs a break from the pounding (walking is fine, but don't do it as a form of exercise on these days - commuting, or casual hiking is ok), and part of the point of a rest day is to give your entire system a bit of a break.

Andrea: What is casual hiking?

Coach: You know if you hike up Mount Finlayson you do it to see the view not to see how fast you can get to the top.

Andrea: People hike for the view? Weird.

Coach: (Sighs)

Up until this point, for me, rest days meant some form of cardio just not running. Like for example, I used to go for 10k walks, which are kind of like power walks, if you have walked with me, you get it. In fact, the only time I ever took time off from working out was when my body forced me to rest by making me sick (and I mean in bed can’t get up kind of sick).

Certainly there is a better way to workout and take rest days without having to become sick. But for some reason I have never been able to figure it out and then I did something. I accepted the fact that I don’t do moderation with things I love, like running. I am an all or nothing type of girl. One just needs to look at my relationship with coffee to see this illustrated. And just when I was finally accepting the fact that I’m intense I get myself a run coach, and then I start taking rest days.

Why do I listen to my coach?

Maybe it's because I pay him or maybe it's because he has been running 26 years, has been coaching for 10 and is one of the fastest people in Canada, so I kind of feel like he knows something about running. Or maybe it's because he is an incredibly grounded person who is very skilled at bringing my crazy ass back down to Earth. Whatever the reason is for this change in my behaviour it doesn’t really matter because all that really matters is that I listen to him. And that I now know what a rest day is and I take them. Because apparently rest days are important or something.

Wow this was the longest explanation ever as to why I take rest days. I guess I could have just said: Because my Coach says so. 


  1. "Because my Coach says so".... You could have just said that, but where would have the fun been in that?

    1. Very true. Have to get content for these posts from somewhere!