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Perhaps you’ve never heard of the active recovery day? The normal person calls it a rest day. Taking an actual rest day though can prevent you from enjoying the benefits of doing an active recovery day instead.
And for real athletes there is no such thing as taking a day off!
There is always an aspect of training that can be worked upon. If it’s not cardio, it’s strength training. If it’s not upper body, it’s lower body. If it’s not your direct sport/exercise, it’s doing something completely different or trying something totally new to work your body differently.
When one is ill, the body rests and the mind works hard on adjusting current training plans, planning ahead for training and goals, and most importantly – the building of a success mindset.
In fact, if you develop your mind to the best of your ability, you will require fewer physical rest days over the long haul.
The body itself, just like any form of life does need to recoup. If pushed hard for a few days, it will need a day or two to repair and replenish and rejuvenate.
Many struggle with figuring out just how to create the right balance in their training programs – “Do I totally rest and do nothing after going hard, or do I find an alternative workout to do?” A total physical rest day should become a mental training day.
The best athletes do both. They plan true rest days ahead of time and fill it with serious R & R, fun, family, and friends with not a thought about their workouts for the day off has been well earned. They also balance their training programs with those alternative forms of exercise that still move the body but in opposite ways the body is used to.
For example, if you run long distance your legs will need regular days of rotation, long slow runs, long hard fast runs, short quick runs, hills etc. And on running rest days, the runner works the core or the upper body to maintain full body strength and conditioning. He or she may implement an hour of swimming, an hour of yoga, a relaxing bike ride, or lift weights on non-running days.
The Key is to find physical activities that still move the body (loosen, stretch and continue a basic level of exertion/usage) on your ‘rest’ days.
Here are some things to try on ‘rest days’ otherwise known as active recovery days:
If you are the type who pushes the limits often and your motto is, “How high, how far and how fast can I go?” give one of these activities a try:
Yoga. Canoeing/kayaking/paddle boarding/surfing. Swimming. Golfing. Take the kids on a casual bike ride or walk. Go hiking. Rock climbing. Try a martial arts class.
These activities slow your body down and focus on concentration and precision mixed with relaxation.
If you are the type who is more of a ‘fun’ worker outer, who exercises for the benefits but not competitively, and perhaps moves more slowly, give any of the activities mentioned a try. The goal for you is to simply try something different that will require your body to move in new ways.
The most important lesson to take away from this is – there is always a way (many ways) to continue making progress mentally, spiritually, and physically towards your goals every single day! If your body truly needs to crash on the couch, utilize that mind of yours and build it up to bring you better success tomorrow!
Here are some ways to improve your mindset:
Read books or articles relating to success, motivation, goal setting, relaxation, meditation. Learn more about your particular sport – new approaches or cross training exercises you’ve never tried.
Study successful people. Athletes, coaches, leaders. See what steps and skills they’ve utilized to reach their level of success AND maintain it.
Listen to upbeat music, audio downloads and watch inspirational videos.
If you don’t write your goals and ambitions down, start. If you already do – get your goals in front of you and start planning out for the long run.
Work on your whole platform. Look at your strengths, talents and goals. See what you can begin to work on that will add to your ‘whole package.’ Add these ventures into your goals and plans for your future.
The true athlete is focused on raising the bar – daily!
They focus on the whole vision and lead a balanced lifestyle along with a balanced training program. There are days for hard work and days for light work and lots of days that are a combination of moderate physical and mental effort required. Everything they do is planned and builds towards the long term vision. Time, health and energy are valuable resources that can be effectively balanced and utilized to make you a wiser and healthier athlete.
Check out some of my Beast Mode Motivators – Motivation for Athletes.
You might also enjoy reading more of my Running & Training articles.
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