• Sara Ellison

Rest is really important. Really.

My first week of training was perfect. Everything came together for me to get each session done. My energy was fresh and I was excited (still am) about doing my Team Lipstick thing again. 

There will always be things you can’t plan for - particularly if you’re doing this as a mother. In my case, I could not have planned for my little one to be up at 5:00 or earlier every day - especially early on Saturday, stirring at 4:30 and in my arms at 4:54am. He normally slept until 6 or 7. Missing an hour here or there during the week is manageable, but the cumulative effect was 7-9 hours (one whole night of sleep) gone for the week. 

When Monday rest day rolled around, and we were up at 5:15, I was so happy to make rest my priority for the day. Rest is so important. My body and mind were crying out for it. Before week 1 of training last week, I had not worked out more than 2-3 times in a week. So, my body and mind had just put in more effort - worked so hard for me - for the first time in years! It is right that I felt tired, and the rest day aligned with my needs.

By Thursday, day 15 of my child waking up before 5am, I felt so sleep deprived, all I could think about was sleep. When I fell asleep on a conference call at work at 2:00pm, I knew I could not show up (not mentally or physically) for my brick workout that evening. I reached out to Laura and told her how I was feeling and without hesitation she told me to rest. "Rest," she said, "Sleep! You need sleep, sleep is so important." The next day, my child slept until 6:00am and the extra 60-90 minutes of sleep made me feel like a new person, and I felt revived and refreshed - excited even - to do my swim workout.

It may not always be the case that the scheduled rest day aligns with how you’re feeling. There are so many variables in life and in training, that our best plans can (and will) be thwarted or diverted now and again. Plans will come up - last minute concert tickets should always be more appealing than a spin class, a babysitter will cancel at the last minute, you’ve been told you need to work late - there are plenty of reasons you’ll miss a training session and have an impromptu rest day - make it work for you and enjoy it. There will also be days where your body and mind are crying out for rest, and you should take it. If you’re not sure about missing the session, reach out to one of the coaches for help assessing - sometimes we need assurance to take a break, and your coach can help you with some ideas for rearranging your week to get priority workouts done and make rest a priority. 

Why is rest so important:

  1. Developing strength - your body needs time to recover from the workouts and to allow your muscle to repair and rebuild. Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in the body as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss. Rest and recovery are required for the body to adapt to the stress undergone during training/exercise. 

  2. Injury prevention. If we continue to burn the engine without a rest, we risk injury from from performing while tired, and potential strain from overuse.

  3. Emotional strength - building in rest days can help us maintain a positive outlook and healthy balance between home/work/family life. Our attitudes and mindset play as big a role (maybe even bigger) in supporting us to push on toward our goals. When we get tired, we get moody and it’s easy to get discouraged. A little rest can go a long way toward reviving your spirit and keeping you focused and motivated.  

Building recovery time and rest into any training program is important, in fact necessary, because this is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. In other words, you need to rest to get the maximum value out of your training.

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