In my early years as a competitive runner I commonly viewed rest days / recovery days as what I “wasn’t doing.” I only viewed harder days, longer days and those of specificity as ones in which anything was really being achieved. And then, in 1989, I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by the late great British Coach Harry Wilson (coach to World Mile Record Holder & Olympic 800m Gold medalist Steve Ovett) and my views began to change. Rest days “aren’t the absence of training,” said Wilson “but rather part OF your training, as important as any harder element.”
As a culture we admire hard work. We tend to glorify those who are relentlessly driven and work the hardest. In endurance athletics hard work is indeed necessary in various formats. However, to manifest that hard work rest must be paired with it. Moreover, we will be well served as a running community if we begin to view rest days from a new lens – – what we are achieving on that rest day, not what we are failing to achieve.
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