Join Tribesports today – it's free!

Tribesports is the home of sportspeople and sports challenges.
Join the fun and start sharing your sports activities with people like you.

The Importance of a Rest Day


Posted by Cags R on 31 October 2014 at 10:38 AM

 Rest days are an aspect of training which we maybe don't consider to be "training" - but ask any high performing athlete, and they'll tell you that Rest Days make the difference between hitting a new PB or picking up a new injury.

How do you spend your rest days?


verb: rest; 3rd person present: rests; past tense: rested; past participle: rested; gerund or present participle: resting

    cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.
    "he needed to rest after the feverish activity"
    synonyms:    relax, take a rest, ease up/off, let up, slow down, pause, have/take a break, unbend, repose, laze, idle, loaf, do nothing, take time off, slack off, unwind, recharge one's batteries, be at leisure, take it easy, sit back, sit down, stand down, lounge, luxuriate, loll, slump, flop, put one's feet up, lie down, go to bed, have/take a nap, nap, catnap, doze, have/take a siesta, drowse, sleep;
noun: rest; plural noun: rests; suffix: -rest; suffix: -rests

    an instance or period of resting.
    "you look as though you need a rest"

They say that big, multi-stage events (such as the Tour de France) are won in bed - how a team use their rest and recovery time is one of the leading factors in a winning team. How you spend your rest days can vary depending on which stage of your training you're in; if it's a rest day dring the taper before your marathon, odds are, you'll have too much nervous energy to just do nothing. Alternatively, if it's the day's rest in a multi-day event - your stategy will probably involve a lot more rest in that rest day.

Rest days are easier to plan for and to fit into a training plan when you're working towards an event, however if you train all year round, it can seem harder to find the time.

Why take a rest day?

  • Prevent overtraining working out every day can lead to fatigue which can increase your risk of injury

  • Prevent tedium - training with the same routine can lose its appeal if you do the same thing every day, rest days work as a mental break from your workout as well as a physical break

  • Improve recovery - DOMS (delayed onset muscle soresness) can really affect your training, with appropriate rest days built into your routine, you can avoid training on already sore muscles

  • Improve sleep - whilst you shouldn't spend your entire rest day asleep, taking a day to catch up on some Zzzz's can really help your training and productivity in the following days

We asked the Tribesports community & a selection of personal trainers how they like to spend their days - and from the results, we've pulled out 3 distinctive types of rest day-ers:

1. The life admin rest day: No exercise? Fine. I'll just do my chores instead.

"Rest day = laundry day. FACT." Jon B

"I usually catch up on projects around the house and maybe fit in some more cardio/ very low impact such as swimming or stair climbing. I really try to stay active on my rest days, so maybe I don't take any... " Chris C

"I do my laundry. Clean my room, eat whatever i want for days off are for catching up on all the things I didn't have time or energy to do on work/run days." Torrey S

2. The active recovery rest day: how can I sneakily do exercise still in the name of resting...

"Hiking or slow recovery run" SpartanWithin

Tony Gentilcore

@Tribesports I like to perform some "active recovery" circuits. Low level mobility/activation drills to promote blood flow and movement.


"I like to put in an easy gentle movement after an intense workout like walking or cycling to keep the circulation going and repair & refuel your muscles and then a good yoga session... Nothing like a post-athletic tuneup that opens up your muscles, hamstrings, knees, calves, etc." Shelenova N

"Doing ankle rehab and Kenpo practice. Yea, not so much rest..." Eoin O

"Rest day @tribesports ;) with family and trail running follow by Hot Springs :)" Felix_trxsf

Rest day @tribesports ;) with family and trail running follow by Hot Springs :)

A photo posted by Felix G. (@felix_trxsf) on Oct 10, 2014 at 9:42pm PDT

3. The restful rest day: kettle on, feet up, sit quietly.

"Day off is a good time to get a massage or a pedicure. Those are nice, nonfood rewards for a hard week of work. :)" Alyona T

Monica S

"I find its hard to take rest days. I always feel as though I should have been doing something "constructive". For me rest days are usually days I can get off my feet. I usually read a book and keep it pretty low key energy wise. I might take the dogs out for a stroll." Monica S

"Wearing some pj's that aren't that ridiculous in case of taking a morning walk." Amanda C

"I will take a duvet day, put my feet up and read a book / watch a film and do as little as possible. quality rest helps as much as quality exercise sometimes." Kevin G

No matter which type of Rest Day-er you are, you want your day to be more comfortable and relaxed than your typical day - that's why we're introducing the Tribesports Rest Day Tshirt. Vote for your favorite design which best represents your sport and your rest day!

Rest DAy Tee Vote