Today is a forced rest day. I call it that because I always start to get antsy when I have to rest. But it’s so important to marathon training to work in total rest days. This is what I have read and when I follow the plan religiously, it truely feels great when you go out for a run the next day.
So, today I will teach a yoga class and relax. Do you spend time relaxing? For many of us, life is filled with things to do. We feel guilty ( I know I do) when we “hang out and do nothing.” Even when I go to my favorite local coffee house, I bring lots of books. The owners there, who see me running around the neighborhood, teaching yoga, running errands, always look at me in disbelief when they see me just relaxing and reading. The first time it happened, one of them walked over and said, ” I can’t believe it! You’ve been here for over an hour and you’re still sitting still!” Yes, indeed, I love “getting it done” but sometimes “getting it done” means resting.
There’s a lot of evidence to explain what happens to the body when you increase your exercise intensity. Whether it’s training for a marathon or practicing yoga, starting a new fitness routine or lifting weights, your body literally breaks down on a cellular level in order to grow new muscle fibers. So it’s only natural that one or two rest days each week gives your body time to build that new muscle and renew itself.
Yoga is a wonderful way to do this and there are many yoga poses that are more focused on this restorative quality then building fitness. Just lying on your back can feel great and even better if you scoot your butt up to a wall and slide your legs up the wall. Yes, for the disbelievers, this is a yoga pose! It’s called “Legs up the wall Pose” or “viparita karani” and it’s especially good for runners because it encourages the legs to rest and moves metabolic waste out of the legs. So, today, maybe lie for a few minutes on your back, or try this pose and see how it makes you feel.