Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Ways That Runners Can ‘Survive’ Rest Days

Rest days can take some willpower.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.


*This appears in full on Amy Says So

Here’s a question to ask yourself. Surviving rest day might take mental maturity—do I have that?

Some people had very mature attitudes about rest days. Some people are even organized enough to plan a date night to coincide with their rest day. I’m impressed. I can’t even remember to schedule date night and to have my hair cut and styled. I hope to be like these organized ladies when I’m a grown up.

A lot of people mentioned the challenge of not eating all the snacks in the house on rest days. This is a real challenge. Rest or recovery days are when our bodies are rebuilding and you can be really hungry. Rungry or hangry, even. I have actually gotten much better at this over the years. Unless there are Oreos or Thin Mints in the house and then all bets are off.

I recently read a book about habits and it was very insightful. It talked a lot about how to change a habit you replace it with something. While I didn’t start this after reading the book it is the way I handle food changes.

On rest days (or taper weeks) when I know I’ll want to eat cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins and ice cream—not to mention potato chips and whatever else I can shove in my mouth—I do these things instead. I focus on making sure I get enough water. I actually log how much water I drink on those days to be sure. I also plan to make a veggie juice and a smoothie filled with anti-inflammatory ingredients during the day. This doesn’t mean I won’t eat cookies or donuts if they find their way in front of me, but it does reduce the chances of that being all I’ll eat.

Rest Versus Active Recovery

A few people commented that they did light workouts like yoga or an easy swim. This is called active recovery and there is a lot of research that it can be helpful. Most weeks is usually what I do. Sometimes after I take a full day of rest I feel sluggish and tired in the next day’s workouts. Instead, I go for a bike ride with my kids or a very light swim I feel energized. However, I did not do that this week because I knew I was very calorie deprived and dehydrated and even sunburnt from the weekend. So I ate good food and drank water and stretched all day.

Another comment was about feeling jealous seeing others workouts. I definitely experience this on rest days. For me a rest day is usually a Monday or a Wednesday because I do big training blocks on Saturday and Sunday. But for folks who aren’t long course training and aren’t triathlon training, they might have a weekend day off. So then Monday is a big day for hitting the gym. I have several trainer friends who post things like, “Never miss Monday.” every single Monday. And I do think it triggers guilt. These kinds of posts actually have a name—they are called fitspiration (a term that comes from fitness + inspiration). Sometimes you’ll see this shortened to “fitspo.” There’s a pretty significant amount of writing (not actual research but written opinion) that it can be good and bad. For me when I noticed on Monday that I was feeling “Comparisonitis” I went ahead and shut my Facebook down for the day. Instead, I played Slamwich (a card game) with my son. It’s hilarious. You should definitely get that game.

Rest Is Good. Recovery Is Good. It’s All Good.

So it was good that I took the whole day off on Monday. My body really did need a break. It needed lots of fluid, no time in the sun and just rest. And I got it. Then on Tuesday I was able to get up and hit it again with a bike trainer session and a one hour pool session. In both of those sessions I could still feel the weekend workouts in my legs. I made the right choice to rest Monday for sure.

What are your rest-day challenges? How do you handle it?

These Runners Were Not Prepared to Love Non-Alcoholic Beer

L. Renee Blount and Outside TV host Pat Parnell posted up at a popular trailhead, handed out free Athletic Brewing craft non-alcoholic beer, and then recorded runners’ live reactions. Want to find out what all the hype’s about? Click here to discover a world without compromise.


Related content from the Outside Network