Rest week has always been hard for me, because I love working out, especially here in the mountains. A few years ago I moved my rest week from the week of the race to two weeks out with great success. I try to get as close to 100% recovered, as my emotional state will allow then I build my intensity during race week so I feel sharp.
The first day of rest is easy, for me this was yesterday, Monday. I capped off my best two weeks of training, good volume and intensity, with a 10K road race on Sunday so my legs were in need of some rest. Monday is also the busiest day of my work- week so it is easy to fill my day; I have no time for training. But now it’s Tuesday and I feel pretty good, so naturally thoughts of training creep back into my mind… “Maybe an easy swim” “what if I just spin on the trainer?” The answer must be NO. So I do some light trigger point release work and hit the foam roller. The foam roller typically reminds me my muscles still need more rest. I continue this internal debate for 3-4 days until my muscles roll smooth under the roller and I know I can get back to quality workouts without risk of injury.
Mental recovery is equally important. If I don’t take a few mental breaks during the year I find myself totally burnt out when the races really count later in the season. This is the worst-case scenario because if your mind and heart aren’t in it, your body will follow. It typically only takes 2-3 days of rest before I really want to work out again, which is kind of like the foam roller test for the mind.
Even with the mental test, and the foam roller test I have to keep myself busy so I don’t go crazy during rest week. So with that being said I’ve got a list of house chores to do and two beautiful daughters to play with.