I love sleep! I usually find myself going to bed around 9:30-10:00 at night, and waking up between 5:30-6:00 in the morning. This gives me a solid eight hours of sleep. Everyone is different, but this is what I’ve found works for my body. The amount of sleep you need may be different than me! Regardless of how much sleep you’re getting a night, there’s a lot of research out there stating the importance of keeping a similar sleep/wake time throughout the week (even on the weekends). However, at the end of a stressful week and/or the day after a hard workout, my body craves extra sleep. Rest days are the perfect time for this for me! I consistently use one of my weekend days as a rest day from training/high intensity exercise and I find this is the perfect time for me to give-in to more sleep. Listening to what my body is telling me and giving myself permission to sleep in for an extra hour some Sundays makes a huge difference in how I feel! Now- notice how I said “an extra hour”. I really do not recommend drastic changes to your sleep/wake times on rest days as this will just make the next day even more difficult to resume your normal schedule. But giving into an extra hour here and there has been beneficial to me.
Rest day does not mean “couch potato day”. Our bodies love movement! How I get my movement in varies a lot throughout the year depending on the whether. In the summertime you can find me outside any chance I get. Common activities for me are: yoga, beach walks, hiking, stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP), and berry picking (cue the reaching, squatting, and walking through the fields in search of the perfect berries!). In the winter months, I focus on yoga or easy rides on my bike trainer.
A quick side note about yoga— I am a huge advocate for practicing yoga in order to promote strengthening. I love pushing my limits and seeing how far I can (safely) progress in a pose. However, when it comes to rest days I recommend focusing on restorative yoga vs power flows. A rest day is all about recharging and preventing injury/overuse.
I like to use a few different massage tools to give my sore muscles some love, including: foam roller, Tiger Tail, orb, and tennis ball. As the week progresses I feel my posture getting worse and worse. Not only am I tired from working, but like most runners I tend to lean forward a bit. I also have really tight hip flexors. So for me, my rolling tends to emphasize scapular retraction, my hips, glutes, and calves. While I hit everything that feels tight or sore, those are my most common areas of focus.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use massage tools:
Feet & Arches
While I’ve gotten better over time, drinking enough water during the day has always been a challenge to me. Frankly, when given the choice between coffee and water I’m always going to choose coffee. But just because I’m not having an intense workout does not give me an excuse to slack on my water! Hydration is important regardless. Don’t forget your water! One thing that has helped me is finding a water bottle that I enjoy drinking out of. For some reason I always drink more water when I utilize a straw, so this water bottle has been a great purchase for me.
As stated earlier, rest day does not mean “couch potato day”. However, it’s practically a guarantee that I’m going to spend part of my rest day sitting on the couch watching a tv show or movie with my husband. I’m also a huge fan of sitting on my patio with a good book in the summer, and getting some quality craft time done in the winter. Whatever it is that helps you decompress and relax…do it! Make recharging your batteries a priority.