On my rest day yesterday I went mountain biking. I don't think I quite understand the concept of a rest day!
Well, actually, I am only joking. In reality, I fully understand that rest days are REALLY important. So why did I mountain bike yesterday? I'll get to that in a moment. For now, back to the purpose for rest days. In order to get stronger you must work your body to wear it down, but you must also allow time for your body to recover. It is during the recovery time that you body rebuilds itself stronger. A lack of proper recovery time can limit performance improvements and increase the chances of injury or overtraining. However, rest and recovery days do not mean that you can't do anything! In actuality, doing nothing on your rest day can cause your muscles to stiffen up. Some examples of rest and recovery activities could include walking, stretching exercises, core strengthening, swimming, and riding a bike.
But mountain biking is probably a little too much for a rest day. So why did I mountain bike yesterday instead of resting? I am trying to wear down my body so it can build back stronger. More specifically, I am trying to listen to how my body feels instead of blindly following a training program. Yesterday I was still feeling strong, so I decided to exercise instead of taking my scheduled rest day. However, this morning I am definitely feeling it, my legs are tired and I can tell they need a break. So a rest day it is.
What do you do on your rest and recovery days? How do you tell when your body is ready for a rest?