“The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen”

That quote above – you’ve heard it, right? One of those uplifting, motivational quotes that gets passed around Facebook or you workout-enthusiast friend shares a few times a year on Instagram.

There’s a similar quote in the running world that goes, “I really regret that run…said no one ever.”

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Not every run ends with a smile on my face…Burton’s pretty much always this happy tho.

If either of those quotes ring true to you, you’re either a liar or a freak of nature. Sometimes workouts suck. Whether my legs are heavy, my body feels fatigued or I feel weak in general, I’ve had plenty of runs, lifts and other workouts that are terrible. And let’s not forget my at least once-annual long run that’s so awful it makes me cry.

Rather than brush it off and tell myself it’s okay because at least I did something, I’ve used it as opportunities to reflect on why. And what I’ve come to realize is these are all typically results of overtraining and my body telling me a rest day is badly needed.

Like many workout enthusiasts, I often push myself too hard. I’m my own personal drill sergeant with speed intervals. I frequently tell myself, “one more rep,” when squatting. I’m incredibly strict with weekly mileage goals. And not much gets me more excited than reaching for dumbbells five pounds heavier than I’ve repped before.

If I could bottle and sell my motivation and drive, I’d be a millionaire by the end of next week. I love my discipline and the tenacity I have to achieve. But, and I know this sounds strange, it can have a downside. Lack of rest inevitably leads to injury, plateaus, burnout feelings and overall fatigue.

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Summer rest days are a little easier.

Especially in recent years, I’ve had to proactively start scheduling rest days into my week. This has a dual benefit. First, my body gets the day off it needs. Second, if I have a day that I feel like slacking, it’s a good reminder that I need to put in the work now and I’ll get rewarded with a day off soon.

As much as we all want to make time for workouts and push ourselves, the value of a rest day can’t be overstated. Monday, August 15 is National Relaxation Day. I can’t think of a better time to remind myself – and all you, my fellow fitness freaks – about the importance of rest.

Do you notice when your body is screaming for a rest day? Do you schedule a weekly rest day, or how do you stay in tune with your body and balance hard workouts with rest? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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