Everyone talks about rest days, it’s up there with breakfast “most important meal of the day” and washing your teeth. Everyone nods in approval when the subject is discussed and there is little argument on the subject matter! Which is great, we all agree that rest days are important-job done.
I guess there are a few different ends of the scale here, for the elite athlete, of course there will be a schedule and more often than not there is not a full ‘rest day’ more a different focus on recovery during those, days, be it active or otherwise. But for the rest of us mere mortals, the concept of a rest day can be difficult to well… adhere whilst not feeling guilty. Especially if you are like me that is…
It’s possible that those on whom shoulders we stand up knew this many years ago when they were putting the IOGKF dojo kun together. They talk about ‘train your mind and body’… now I think this is central to how to approach this matter. Before we go any furhter, I am far from someone who can speak with authority of commitment to these points. I am the worst person to try and get to every training session, often cycling 30+kms a day whilst also going to ‘training’. So you can consider this a bit of a self diagnosis, a self help guide!
The first ting that you hear about is the time needed for recovery, micro tears in the muscles that require time to heal and get stronger with rest. That’s fine but actually, (and fyi I used to be a personal trainer) really you need 36-48 hours to really get this effect, which is why when I was competing, we had a few days off before big competitions and did very very light training and loads of stretching. Then of course came the ‘recovery baths’, the person who came up with these was clearly a fan of pain. Sittining in as much feece as you could wear on top, legs in freezing water to aid ‘recovery’… Christ that hurt.
There are loads of other reasons for rest days, eduction of stress fractures, better sleep, better mood etc. but what the hell can you do on the rest days to reduce the feeling of… well slacking?
Growing up, we didn’t have youtube or the like, but we had VHS, oh the joys of watching grainey films of ‘Best Karate’ where Kowasoe Sensei showed everyone how to do kata. Hours were spent watching these, katas were stopped, kata maps (yes they existed) were created. But all the time we were learning!
Today, well there is so much to read and to digest that you could spend all day and night on youtube and yet learn little. I’ve started to research topics only to be drawn to the wonders of the cat world and their antics, or to what can only be described as ‘McDojo’ clips. So now I try to take a topic and do more of a deep dive and in doing so, and by writting this blog, then I get to a point where I have made an investment of time into the ressearch and I have an opinion and I feel that my brain has made a step forward!
The other thing I’ve started to do is to meditate, it’s bloody hard for me, but I’m trying, it’s also my training when I’m not training.