You want to go faster? Train more… right? No… rest more. That’s right, training doesn’t make you stronger and faster, recovery does. It is during recovery that your body rebuilds itself after the stress of training and you get stronger. I’ve written about this before, but today it really hit home in my first recovery week of the season.

As you ramp up your training, you fitness increases, but so does fatigue. You get tired. I could feel it after 3 weeks back in training mode. My main workouts in this phase have been the strength training work. I could feel it in my hips as I started to really pile on the load. But I was getting tired. I had been taking the regularly recovery days, but sometimes you need a week to rest.

This week is one of those weeks for me. I had a trip for work this past weekend so I started off my recovery with two full days off. I hadn’t planned it that way, but that’s life. This morning I hit the weight room again and set the plates like I normally do for the leg press. My first set felt really easy. I upped the weight and still felt good after 4 sets. I completed my routine and as of writing this I don’t feel a thing. I probably could have gone harder… but I’m sure that’ll come later.

Thinking back, I think I finally shed that bit of fatigue I couldn’t get out of my system. I feel great! It’s amazing what a few days off will do. I know I didn’t lose fitness from 2 days off. In fact, I think I’m stronger for it. My body finally was able to rebuild.

So if you are feeling a bit flat, take a day off. Don’t be afraid to rest. You’ll need it to keep going and building fitness to a higher level. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week, not just because it’s Christmas, but because it’s a rest week too. It’s almost like I timed it this way 🙂

What do you do for rest and recovery? How often do you have rest weeks? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!