This week I took two consecutive rest days. One was planned because I was taking a day-trip out of Paris with a friend, but the other one I just needed really badly. I was so tired on Thursday that my run in the forest ended up being 5km shorter than planned, plus I was crawling along at a snails pace. Come Friday, it would have been a really bad idea to head out for my tempo run, so instead I cancelled the day’s training and focused on recovery instead.
It got me thinking about all the things that I like to do to recover from a hard week/month of training. I’ve written before about how important it is to schedule rest-days (which is why I plan a day-off each week), but what should you do on a rest day – other than ‘nothing’?
It’s so easy to neglect sleep when you’re having to fit training in amongst all the other things in your day. When it comes to having a rest-day then, make sure that sleep becomes a priority. Spend the first hour of your day lazing in bed and appreciate the serenity. Eat breakfast in bed. Indulge yourself!
This year I’ve switched from drinking coffee in the morning to drinking tea. I find it’s more gentle on the body and you can drink multiple cups of it throughout the day without having to worry about the effects on your body. After the first few cups I like to drink herbal tea rather than black tea, and it means you get to try lots of yummy flavours. Tea is like a hug from the inside, and is a perfect accompaniment for your day off.
Wear compression gear
Training is hard work on your muscles, which is one of the reasons to take a rest day in the first place. To aid recovery, I like to wear compression calf sleeves as I find they help my muscles repair more quickly. Typically I will pull them on after a long run or hard session, but you can also spend the whole of your rest day wandering around in them too. You can also get compression socks and leggings which are for the other muscles in your legs.
Have a bath
Mmmmmm is there anything better than sinking into a tub full of hot water? Warm water is a great way to help your muscles relax after a hard week of training. Try adding some Epsom salt to your bath, which is a therapeutic remedy to help ease sore muscles and help fight illness. I’ve found it also makes your bath feel that little bit more luxurious, which is a definite win. A bath bomb or bubble-bath mix can also create similar feelings of pleasure.
Do whatever makes you happy
It doesn’t matter what it is – just take some time for yourself and relax. For some, it might be to read a book or binge-watch a series on Netflix. Maybe you want to bake a cake (and then eat it all!). Or perhaps you’re more keen to just lie in bed or sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing. Whatever it is, a rest day is the perfect time to do it.
How do you recover after a big week of training?