If you were getting on your teenager’s case about how he needs to do better with his homework and he said “Yeah, I know, but rest is important too, so I’m taking a week off” you’d haul his lazy behind out in the street and whoop on him until you had more neighbors around spectatin’ than you had out to your last block party, right? Of course you would. But when it comes to exercise, guess what? If you rest, that doesn’t mean you’re lazy, it means you’re smart. But don’t take my word for it, look at these other expert people (you can tell they’re experts because they have blogs) who say the same thing:
The last guy has pictures of musclely men and cats, so you know he’s serious when he says that rest is important.
But all kidding aside, resting is critically important to your training. Training is the act of working your muscles until they’re tearing and getting hurt. When you rest, they heal and more tissue fills in the tears and such, which makes your muscles bigger and stronger.
“But I rest every day” you say? Of course we all rest. Nobody is out there training 24 hours per day. But we’re talking about resting for several days at a time or taking an entire week off. Or, if you’re like me and have a pulled hamstring, taking multiple weeks off. Unfortunately for me, it’s the only way I can heal and get back to training.
I’m no expert on this stuff, but what I’ve seen and heard is that your body will generally tell you when you need a break. If you’ve been training 3-4 days per week for two months and you feel like you’ve hit a wall and your legs never feel properly rested then take a week off and just rest. Whenever I do this I find that once I start again that sure, it’s hard the first day, but by the second or third day I’m back into training I feel much better than when I started my rest period.
So if you’re new to triathlons and you think taking a break means you’re lazy, don’t sweat it, just take a break if you feel like you need one. Just don’t let that break turn into six months. That’s not called resting, that’s called quitting.