Bodies tell us so much. And those of us who like to pretend we’re Cheetahs, Kenyans, or small monkeys on bicycles are great at ignoring our screaming limbs and brains.

Yesterday should have been a rest day for me. But I couldn’t help myself. I beat myself up for not doing enough strength work recently, so I headed in for a weights session. Afterwards, I jumped on the elliptical, and the 60 minute session fast became 10 minutes as my groaning body refused to harden up.

Normally, I’m all like -



- but yesterday was different. My body was shaky, I felt exhausted, and, most importantly, I didn’t want to work out.

So how do you tell the difference between being just a little bit pathetic (and man, we are ALL guilty of that from time to time) and really needing to stop?

Honestly, I don’t really know for sure. But I do know, from bitter experience, that not stopping leads to complete burnout, and potentially a long-standing relationship with a chiropractor.

When in doubt, I turn to Runners World, and today, it informed me that some of the signs are an elevated resting heart rate, feeling run down, being cranky, and having a sluggish workout. Based on their charts, I was hitting the ‘warning zone’, so cranky, irritable me sat on the couch and got out one of the OCD anonymous favourite apps – the heart-rate monitor. Normally, my pulse is 58-60bpm. This morning it was 78.

I had a rest day. I hated every bit of it.


I kind of wanted to go cycling, but that didn’t happen either.

But now I’m glad I did. And with a nice big pad thai under my tank top, I’m so very ready to tackle a nice 20km loop with Superwoman tomorrow morning.

Running is amazing, and exercise can be the most rewarding thing in the world. But we can’t do it all the time.  Personally, I can’t go more than 6 days without a break. I know others who have to have 2 rest days a week. Others work on an 8 or 10 day cycle. Still others have an extremely light day instead – but they have a designated day that is ridiculously easy.

My angst over rest day was met with some words of wisdom from Phaedra, at Blisters and Black Toenails -


At the end of the day, Phaedra has it – rest days make us better.

So harden the f*ck up and take ‘em.


Today’s Moment

Adding insult to injury, I received my Lorna Jane delivery.

And it’s oh so pretty!


Your Turn!

How often do you need a rest day?
Love or loathe rest days?
Have you ever felt completely burnt out?



  1. Amy Lauren says:

    Definitely take a few days off if you feel burnt out- it’s hard to do but honestly if you just take maybe 2-3 days off you will want to run so bad by the last day that you feel so much stronger :) . It’s kinda like a taper for a long race, I guess.

    I don’t really like rest days much if it’s because I don’t feel good, just try to do other non-running things and stay busy, that really helps :) .
    Amy Lauren recently posted Survey Says: Here’s to 2012!My Profile

    • Kate says:

      Thanks Amy! I definitely am not burnt out, but I really, really needed that rest day. And I have to take another tomorrow thanks to a conference, so I guess I’ll get some extra this week anyway!

  2. Kat says:

    Rest is important! Sometimes I think that it’s not just our muscles, but out immune systems that need it so that we have an easier time HTFU hahaha!!
    Kat recently posted Take me to Sugar Rehab!My Profile

  3. Rest days are so important! I take every Friday off, and have a few other “easy” days. I haven’t felt burnt out in awhile, but I do know that feeling. So important to step back when your body sends you those signals!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted New Year’s WIAW + Avocado Tuna SaladMy Profile

  4. Kayla says:

    I definitely have a hard time taking rest days – I feel antsy. I was much better about it in the spring when I was doing higher intensity running – then I savored them!

    • Kate says:

      I know that antsy feeling! Did you have a coach at the time? Sometimes I feel like life would be easier if I had someone to tell me what to do!

  5. I am not a fan of rest days and have a hard time bringing myself to take them. The entire time I think of all the different workouts I think I *should* be doing. My body has started telling me loud and clear when it needs one, though. Now I’m taking at least one a week, sometimes two. I’m always glad I took one the day after!
    Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness recently posted 3 Exercises to Tone Your AbsMy Profile

  6. I take my rest days, I also do ‘easy’ days. I’m sure there have been numerous RW articles that remind us about the process of strengthening the body…

    You need rest for recovery, recovery means repair, and with repair comes strength!! If you destroy your body (muscles) everyday you’re not doing anyone any good!

    I rejoice on my rest days lol – I kick back, eat up big and catch up on those chores I had been neglecting (like wash my last few days worth of stinky running gear!!) – embrace the rest day!!
    Jarrod Mast DOT me recently posted Racing schedule changes… Wedding beats GCM!My Profile

    • Kate says:

      Oh that stinky running gear…the pile never gets smaller. You always seem pretty chill about life. I am way too highly strung for my own good!

  7. robyn says:

    I loathe rest days but try them at least once a week – but often end up walking the dog or cycling with the kids or swimming so it is not really a rest day:)
    I also may follow a long run (10-13km) with a short run day (5-6km).
    Hope you 20km run went well, perfect day for it!

  8. Sarah MomRunningonEmpty says:

    I have a tendency to ignore my rest days to the point of burn out… Then I wine and complain I’m burnt out and later I’m confused about why my training suffers!! I’m trying to balance that better this year and listen to my body!
    Sarah MomRunningonEmpty recently posted I don’t believe in RESOLUTIONS!My Profile

  9. Bean says:

    Love this post! I usually want to kick rest days in the face but I know they are necessary and good for me. Way to be a responsible runner and do what is good for you;).
    Bean recently posted Happy 2013: ResolutionsMy Profile

  10. realizing which warnings to ignore and which ones to heed to is an ongoing thing for runners. it’s SO tough because we hard-wire ourselves to be ‘tough’ for races but it’s often a lot of learning the hard way that we figure out to listen up to our body when it tells us certain things. pain of injury vs. regular creaks, and then tired like sickness vs. tired just being tired.

    i’m glad u cut yourself a break here and smartly listened to ur sick body….ugh, i hope u feel better soon!!!

    • Kate says:

      I’m all good thanks :-) . But I think – I hope – I’m starting to get better at heading off problems rather than running stupidly through.

  11. TriGirl says:

    Good for you! Rest days really are the times when our muscles recover and get *stronger* from all the work we’ve put them through. Sounds like you had a classic burn-out feeling. You can slog through it but if you keep it up, you run the risk of getting really sick.
    TriGirl recently posted Here’s Lookin’ at You, 2012: a year in reviewMy Profile

  12. If you figure this out let me know-
    one of the hardest things for me, coming back from injury, is to decided when I am being smart and listening to my body and when I am being a baby or a lazy bum. I cannot figure it out!
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted 2013 Goals – Healthy EatingMy Profile

  13. A spoonful of concrete… I love it! Yeah you know my love/hate relationship with rest days. Sometimes life is so crazy I can’t imagine fitting in a run on those darn rest days and am grateful for my extra hour but then there are days when I just want to run and feel “sluggish” for not. But yeah like everyone will say they are so important. Unfortunately I seem to perform better on 2 per week… which sounds like a lot but I am long past trying to squeeze more out of this body …at least for now ;) I do DREAM of being a 6 x per week runner…. sigh!
    Jenelle @ MummyLovesToRun recently posted Unambitious in 2013My Profile

    • Kate says:

      My aunty, Mardi, swears by 2 as well. It works really well for her. PLUS, I don’t run 6 days a week – 4 if I’m lucky. I use a lot of cross-training to keep things working.

  14. Liz says:

    Your body will certainly let you know when it needs a break. You should never beat yourself up if you take a day off. Your drive is so awesome! :)
    Liz recently posted FD229 – Ditch Resolutions..Make Monthly GoalsMy Profile

  15. jenna says:

    so glad that you rested and listened to the body!! thats what you needed to do, obviously, even tho our brain haaates it! believe me, i’m there right now!! haha. im really proud of you, love!! you gotta take care of yourself so you can perform at your absolute best! love you girlie!!!

  16. Kierston says:

    I LOVE those never give up shorts!!!!

    I used to hate rest days…I always wanted to go…go….and GO!

    Now, I embrace them. I know I need them and that they do my body and mind good. I take 1-2 FULL REST DAYS. And, I feel good after taking them :)
    Kierston recently posted Party Like a FU!My Profile

  17. [...] Making decisions like these, not unlike debating whether to run through a new ache or pain and wondering if it’s an injury, are things that define a mature runner. Runners are constantly forcing themselves to run through the pain and discomfort and ‘suck it up’, which is a good thing because you’ve got to be tough for workouts and races. BUT there is a fine line between being so numb and ‘stupid’ that you start to ignore obvious signals that you’re running through the ‘wrong’ kind of tired. [Actually, the ever-awesome Kate @ Run With Kate did a kick-butt post on debating this sickness and running thing HERE!] [...]

  18. Noemi says:

    Canon, Dell, Epson, Okidata, HP, Brother, Samsung еtc.
    One of the importfant intangibles fօr а printer іs a printer cartridge.
    Pruce comparison Ьetween tonesr products іs reɑlly worth looƙing at.
    Noemi recently posted NoemiMy Profile

  19. Ashly says:

    Yes! Finally someone writes about plumbing.
    Ashly recently posted AshlyMy Profile

  20. hello!,I really like your writing so so much!
    share we communicate extra about your post on AOL?
    I need an expert in this area to resolve my problem.
    May be that’s you! Looking ahead to look you.
    Adderall Abuse recently posted Adderall AbuseMy Profile

  21. Great article.
    waterproof duffel bags camping recently posted waterproof duffel bags campingMy Profile

  22. Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, terrific blog!
    ข้อสอบข้อเขียนbalac recently posted ข้อสอบข้อเขียนbalacMy Profile

  23. My relatives always say that I am wasting my time here at web,
    except I know I am getting experience every day by reading thes good posts.
    Beauty supply stores nyc recently posted Beauty supply stores nycMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge