It seems to me that when you’re deep in training for something big, rest almost becomes a four-letter word. Well it is a four letter word actually but I’m using that expression as in a bad, four-letter word.

I’ve always been okay with having rest days built into my training plans. In fact, I love my rest days. I feel like I’m being rewarded with that day off after sticking to my plan for the rest of the week. I like rest days and wholeheartedly believe they are just as important as the tough workout days when you’re training for months on end.

But for some reason, when your heart or body tells you that maybe some extra rest is a good idea, it can feel like you’re doing something bad. Like you’re cheating on your goals or something. I don’t like to readily admit that I’m taking an extra rest day when because of Twitter and my blog, most people know what I’m supposed to be running that day. I don’t like admitting that defeat.

But maybe that’s the problem. Is it really defeat?

I don’t think it it is. But the self-imposed pressure of setting big goals, meticulously scheduling your training and the high that comes after each workout has a way of making it feel that way sometimes. I prefer to look at it as just another part of training. Just like some days you feel like tacking on an extra km, some days I feel like I need an extra break.

Just like that other four letter word, rest happens sometimes.

It’s no secret that my fall was crazy busy with the new house and travelling etc. and then we plunged head-first into the holidays. Keeping up with my training schedule was one of the few things that helped me feel grounded during these crazy weeks. It felt great to get those long marathon-training runs done each weekend.

But after my bad day last Friday with all of the snow, something just didn’t feel right about the long run I had planned for that weekend. I’d barely had a moment to catch my breath between getting ready for Christmas, ready for guests, last-minute shopping and social events and I was feeling like I wasn’t giving anything 100%. So I decided to take a step back and listen to what my body might be trying to say and I’m pretty sure I heard, “Let’s take a little break, Nik”

So I did. As a little Christmas present to myself, I took the week right over Christmas off. It wasn’t planned. And I wasn’t particularly happy about missing a week’s worth of runs but it felt like the right thing to do. I desperately wanted to be happily running on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day but in my heart I felt like I needed the rest far more than the satisfaction of being able to Tweet or IG those runs. Ha ha.

Did my break pay off? Well, I won’t really know that until after tomorrow’s long run and my other runs this week. It was pretty nice to slow right down however and give 100% simply to enjoying Christmas and being with family. It was a nice break to reconnect and rest. Which was exactly the point.

Our Christmas was lovely and it was fun to welcome family and friends to our new house to celebrate. We even got to spend our very first Christmas morning all to ourselves, just us and the boys. We’ve always been with family so it was a treat to have our own Christmas and start some of our own traditions.

But now it’s back to the grind. With rest often comes a bit of indulgence and with the holidays that is pretty much a given. Tomorrow’s 24ish km run should be a good start to burning off some of those gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pies!

Related Posts


  1. Aurora    

    Nikki, I think everyone is a little different. Personally, I don’t find there to be anything wrong with what you’ve done. I don’t recommend week-long breaks for newbie runners because it’s easy to break something that’s not a habit yet. However, since running is a huge part of your life and it would be hard for you to get in the habit of not running, I think that a week-long break might actually leave you feeling refreshed and better than ever!

    Sometimes I too struggle with how close to the letter I should follow my training plan, or whether I should let myself rest on certain days when I didn’t plan it. But I find that as long as I’m pushing myself and moving forward, ultimately it’s best to listen to my body. I think you made a smart decision and I hope to hear that your next runs go wonderfully! :-)

    1. Nikki Scott    

      Today was definitely a great run so I think the break did me some good. Phew! :)

  2. Diana Martinez    

    We all need breaks. In the grand scheme, a week is not that long – and as Aurora said, it will probably turn out that it was just what you needed.

    1. Nikki Scott    

      My run today was pretty good so I think the break was a good idea!

  3. Jennifer Closs    

    I caught a cold days before Christmas and so I ended up taking about a week off too. And I felt guilty! My previous long run wasn’t as long as I had planned because of the snow so I was pretty determined to fit it in this weekend. I felt good, but I’ve still got a bit of a cough… it’s so hard to know when you should really back off and rest and whether running while sick or burnt out will make things better or worse. Sometimes getting out is just what I need, but sometimes it’s not. As if we need another thing to feel guilty about, eh? It’s only ever in hindsight that we know if we made the right choice!

    1. Nikki Scott    

      It really IS so hard to know. This was a total ‘burnt out’ kind of feeling and not just because OF running but I knew the break FROM running would help. And I think it did. Still have a few tough workouts this week so hopefully those don’t overdo it for me but I think I’m good. Feeling good and determined again. First half here I come! (Yikes, it’s only a month away!)

Leave a Reply

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

CommentLuv badge