Rest Day Restlessness


We work hard. We train in the wee hours of the morning when our families are still asleep. We train in the heat, cold, and the rain. We train when we are sick, stressed, and unmotivated. We often don’t much feel like getting out the door and pushing our bodies to their limits, but we do it because it’s important to us and we are dedicated to our sport. We are athletes. We follow a plan. Rest days are part of the plan. We have earned our rest days through much hard work. So why do we have trouble resting on rest days? Why can’t we enjoy the rest day? We abuse our bodies on purpose to build them up and resting them is part of the build up process. We know we need to rest. We even dream of rest days when we are struggling and feeling tired. Then the rest day comes and we suddenly feel restless. Such a weird phenomenon.

So why do we have such a hard time resting? I have a few ideas.

  • Training gives us a sense of purpose.

Training is very meaningful to us. We would never dream of giving it up. Without it, we feel a lack of achievement; a lack of purpose. When we rest, we feel as if we are not actively pursuing our goals. We are idle and this makes us restless. We’re like lost ducklings. What on earth do we do with ourselves? We’re used to being a busy grownup AND fitting in our training. Our schedules are filled to the gills and we rather like it this way. So a day of rest? Well, it just feels wrong, doesn’t it?

  • It has become who we are.

It is who we are. We are addicted. Let’s face it: we’re junkies. We crave that rush of adrenaline. It has become part of our identity. It is in our blood. It guides virtually all of our life decisions. it gets to a point where we make our lives fit around training. We want to do everything, but we know our training is the thing that makes all of the other things better. Training makes us feel fulfilled, it contributes to this better version of ourselves that we are enjoying.

  • Rest days make us feel like quitters. 

Training has taught us to never quit. We feel like quitting, A LOT, but we don’t. We keep on keeping on. We push past our feelings of weakness. For some reason, rest days make us feel like we have quit. Like we’re slackers. It’s a guilty feeling we experience. We’re left thinking, “I can’t believe I’m not training at all today. What if this turns into two days, and then more? What if I like it too much and I lose all of my momentum? I can’t let that happen.” I have actually thought those thoughts in my head. Typing them out makes me realize just how crazy I am. I have to let myself rest. I have to remember that I am committed to my plan and rest days are part of the plan.

  • No activity compares to it. 

We try to find suitable replacements for our training, but everything pales in comparison. I know that a useful coping mechanism when we crave a certain thing we can’t have is to replace it with another thing. The problem is that I just can’t find a thing to replace training that matches its power. I will try many things on rest days, but ultimately I find myself biding my time until the next training day. Writing about it helps some, ergo this blog post.

  • It is our stress reliever. 

It’s no secret that exercise is a stress reliever. For us dedicated athletes, training at our intensity levels and never having a day of rest is a recipe for an overuse injury. We know this. We also know that an intense sweat session would clear our heads, improve our moods, and make us feel less stressed. But, alas, we’re sitting around feeling restless on rest day and can’t get in our “de-stressification” (yeah, I made up a word).

  • It is our escape.

Not only is it a stress reliever, it is an out and out escape for us. When we train we are away from our families and our work, simply doing our thing. Of course we love our families and our jobs, it’s just that it’s nice to have a healthy activity as our escape from all of that. It is our time when we don’t necessarily have to worry about life’s hassles. It is our “me time.” It is our escape. Rest days make us feel a bit trapped.

I have to say, this topic absolutely fascinates me. I know I am not alone in feeling restless on rest days. I know this because I’ve spoken to countless people that feel the same way I do on this topic. The fact that I am not alone is comforting insofar as I know I’m not the only crazy freak out there.

So, to all my friends resting out there: hang tight, training day will come soon enough.

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I’m a fraud, and here’s why …

Okay, I’m going to go ahead and admit it. I’m a fraud. I’m not who I seem to be. I am always striving to project the image of a confident wife, mother, librarian, and runner. I strive to do right by the people most important to me in my life. I honestly try hard, but I fail often. I know that no one is perfect, but I am very far from perfect, and I really feel like you all should know about it. Not that any of you were thinking I’m perfect … I’m not that presumptuous. I’m just a little worried that in an effort to reassure myself of my successes I have painted the picture of someone I simply am not. I’m a fraud.

  •  I’m a fraud as a wife.us

Marriage is difficult. Marriage is rather like the marathon (more on that later, as my 15th wedding anniversary is coming up and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this concept). Marriage is not easy. I often put my own needs before my husband’s and our needs as a couple. I often approach situations with him from a “how does this affect me?” standpoint rather than a “how are we going to make this work?” stand. I work hard to squeeze all of my training in around our hectic schedules, but am I working as hard at squeezing couple time in with him? No. No, I’m not. My priorities in my marriage are a little out of whack and I need to work on this. Just as I am dedicated to my sports, so should I be dedicated to my husband. So, I’ll admit it. I am a fraud as a wife.

  • I’m a fraud as a mother.girls

My daughters are smart, funny, sweet, beautiful, and talented. They are sources of great joy for me. Their spirits and tenacity amaze me on a constant basis and they inspire me to push myself to be better. But do I pay enough attention to them? I mean really look at them and listen to them? Do I let them know how much they mean to me? No, no I don’t. I am often distracted when I listen to their stories from school that day. I am often stirring something on the stove top while answering a text about soccer practice carpool and stretching my tight calves from my afternoon cross country speed work that I’ve raced home from. I mean I’m there, but am I REALLY there? In the car when they are letting me into their worlds by telling me about this one girl at the locker and this one funny teacher that does that funny thing and the funny song the younger one made up with her best friend, am I even really listening or just picking up pieces of the story here and there? Even worse, am I calculating my long run route and the paces I want to hit that weekend? Yes, yes actually I often am. I have to say, I have never wanted to be the mother that lives so vicariously through her kids that she has no real identity for herself anymore. That’s not healthy. But, have I gone too far the other way? Am I a self-centered mom? I’ll admit it. I am a fraud as a mother.

  • I’m a fraud as a runner.run

Yes, I run. I run A LOT. I run roads, trails, and tracks. I run alone and I run with a partner or group on occasion. I run long and I run short. I run hills and I do speed work. I run races and I monitor my pacing on practice runs. I set running goals and I stick to them. I read about running. I talk about running. I write about running. I share my running passion in person and through social media. I am a runner, but I often doubt myself. I often am envious of faster runners. I often yearn for more running success instead of celebrating what I’ve already accomplished. It’s so easy for me to cheer other runners on and to remind them to quit doubting themselves. I tell them, “quit focusing on how far you have to go. Concentrate on how far you’ve already come”  and “you’re doing awesome. Don’t quit. Think about how many people that don’t have the courage to do what you’re doing.” “There will always be someone faster. Focus on beating YOUR own best.” I say these things and I genuinely mean them, but I have a really hard time following my own advice. I’m happy for faster runners, but I am also envious. I often wonder if I can really improve any more. I often wonder at what point I’ll be exposed for the running fraud that I am. People must be on to me. I mean, isn’t it obvious? I’ll admit it. I am a fraud as a runner.

  • I’m a fraud as a librarian.librarian

I love my job. I love working in a high school library. I love working with teenagers, for they are energetic, optimistic, humorous, and adventurous. I tend to have a great rapport with the students, and they inspire me to work hard for them. I love to read and write and I love technology, so being surrounded by books and technology is very comforting to me. But am I doing everything I should be doing as a librarian? Do I focus on the teachers enough? Do I focus on my administrative duties — the budget, ordering, technology maintenance, circulation reports, patron logs, collection analysis, etc.? To be honest, all of the repetitive duties and responsibilities are kind of a drag for me. I’m much more motivated by the opportunity to be playful, humorous and engaging, and I get to be this way with the students. What student doesn’t love a passionate, energetic librarian? I enjoy being that bright spot in the day for my students, but let’s face it, those bills and reports aren’t going to take care of themselves. Am I devoting enough of my time on the important, albeit mundane, tasks required of me? No, no I am not. Being a grownup means doing things we don’t like to do sometimes. I need to balance my priorities at work. I will admit it. I am a fraud as a librarian.

I know, I know, no one can be perfect. If you’ve read this far, you are probably shaking your head at me saying, “Come on, no one is perfect! We’re all frauds, really.” No one person can be all things to all people. Perfection is a myth and human beings are flawed. I know all of this, in my heart of hearts.  I know that by striving to do the very best in all areas of my life I am living an authentic life. Yes, I have made some grave mistakes in all areas of my life, but those mistakes don’t define me. Those slip ups do not make me a fraud. They just make me human.

I am flawed. I vow to focus more on living an authentic life. I am a good wife, mother, librarian, and runner … warts and all.