After a week of good runs, I thought last night “Hey, why not go for an AM run?” This was originally my scheduled rest day from running, but a little part of me wanted to go for it.
Today I looked at my schedule of when I wanted my next harder run to be. I was hoping for some half marathon tempo miles on Friday, an easy relaxed run on Saturday, and some distance on Sunday. My decision became easy and I knew Thursday was a for sure rest day – a complete rest day. STICK TO YOUR REST DAYS!
I’ve been fine-tuning my rest day routine so as to make sure my body gets the adequate repair it needs.
My rest day starts the night before and can vastly improve the benefits of the rest day. [In an ideal world, I would get this done after every run! That is my aim]
I lay out my yoga mat, foam roller and a small ball (softball is what I found). I also brought the Stick over with me to the living room.
I proceeded through a 25 minute routine while sweet potatoes were cooking in my oven. This set a good time limit so I didn’t get up before then. I went through a few yoga flows, but focused on the poses that are known for being hip openers – ex. pigeon and warrior.
An extensive foam rolling routine followed. I need to get a black one like the one from the gym. When I first bought my foam roller it was when I was in severe IT pain, but now I guess my endurance for foam rollers has increased.
And meet my old school yoga tune-up ball – a softball. There is nothing soft about it and it reaches those smaller places a lot deeper. I used these on my hamstrings last night towards the insertion at my glutes. I usually sit on them and sway a bit back and forth. A small ball is also good for the TFL on the sides of our hips.
Last was a good rolling using the stick. My roommates will find me using it in the kitchen or in the living room, but by now they are used to it. It is always funny to see the reactions of guests if I am using the stick or foam roller or softball during a stretch. I’m sure what I say and do afterwards confirms that I am nuts.
Proper (re)Fueling. After my stretching routine, I mixed up a little cytomax that I found in my samples box.
I have a sweet tooth and cytomax suits me. It took me awhile to find what worked best for me. It was not until the Ragnar Relay where I really saw what worked for quick recovery. Between cytomax and light chocolate muscle milk (not together, please), I felt tremendously better if I consumed these within 30 minutes of a post run.
Mini-lesson on proteins and muscle repair: My students ask about proteins and muscles all the time. I try to break it down to them in saying that when we work out, we create microtears in our muscles. These tears try to repair themselves so that we are stronger for the next workout. However, they need resources to create those repairs. This is where the protein is extremely important and needs to be done in a timely way. Your muscles are eager to absorb what you put in your body after working out (so is your circulatory system – hence “I drink a beer right after running…I’m screwed”) so waiting a few hours to replenish the proteins is not as helpful as 30 minutes.
When these two aspects are combined, the results of my complete rest days are exponentially better.
Do you have any rest day routines?