Don’t Pretend You Don’t Love Lounging

I see a lot of posturing by enthusiastic work-outers about how incredibly hard it is to take a rest day once a week or about the emotional turmoil of having the flu and thus being forced miss a run.

I do not relate.

I relish rest day. There is no guilt on the couch on rest day. There isn’t any reservation about forgoing laps for the hot tub on rest day. I have the time (read: energy) to do laundry and go to the post office on rest day. It’s worth putting on makeup and doing my hair to go out into public on rest day.

I don’t like sick days — because I’m sick, and tasty food won’t stay in my tummy, or my brain is trying to swell beyond the constraints of my skull. Not so much because I’m missing out on hill repeats. Obviously, I’d rather do hill repeats than breathe through a migraine or dry heaves, but I’d also rather eat bacon in my pajamas.

To be perfectly clear, triathlon is my passion. It’s what I think about when I’m trying to resist eating candy, when I’m falling asleep, and when I’m hitting the snooze button (“I want to run, but I want to not leave this warm, cozy haven.”). When I miss workouts I get a serious case of the blues. So I can understand the sentiment of never wanting to miss a training session to push myself, surprise myself, take care of myself, better myself.

But I will never refer to having chicken noodle soup and/or rainbow sherbet delivered to me in my couch-nest of blankies and cold drugs as “torture,” and certainly not by virtue of not being a long bike ride.
And I never find rest day to be the hardest day of my week. I reserve that title for Tuesdays, which are a combination of a busy work day that kind of still feels like Monday, sprints in the pool, and a tempo run.

Furthermore, my muscles love rest day; they heal and get stronger during this key phase of training. My system appreciates it when I let it focus on one battle at a time: kick the cold today, kick the pace up tomorrow. Not only does sitting still allow my physical self to rejuvenate, it allows my mind to refresh my reserves of determination, grit, and intensity.

The key is recognizing the difference between needing a day off and just wanting lunch wine with your second BLT of the day.

And I sometimes lose my keys. I think if we could all be honest, you crazy meme-crafting work-outers do, too.“Motivational” quotes about the agony and self-hatred of occasionally not training are not only annoyingly hardcore, they are also deceptive and subsequently detract from the hard work we do and the dedication it demands.

If people really got truly addicted to fitness and health, obesity rates in the U.S. wouldn’t be 35.3 percent. If it didn’t require focus and determination to get moving and sweating six days a week (and none of this five-minute workout hooey), heart disease wouldn’t be the leading cause of death in the U.S. or diabetes the seventh deadliest thing Americans face. It takes dedication — relentless dedication every day, month upon month—to train hard and smart.

Don’t detract from that by calling it an addiction. Even passion is challenged by inertia.


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