The Importance of Resting

Last week, I wrote about the importance of consistent, daily training. So how do you balance this with rest, which is also very important? That's what I'm going to talk about today.

I believe rest is not given as much emphasis as it should be given. So many athletes are highly dedicated and want to train everyday, but by doing this, they don't give their bodies or minds enough time to rest and recover. Over-training has many bad consequences.

Most notably, over-training increases the chances of injuries. It also adds more "miles" to your body, which can shorten your career. Many athletes think their extreme work ethic is helping them reach their goals, but in fact, their over-training is hurting them by causing injuries and shortening their career.

Furthermore, by over-training and failing to give yourself rest days, your muscles will be constantly sore and fatigued. A sore body is not at full strength. When you're very sore, you won't be able to reach peak performance. When you give your body time to recover, your body will be at full strength and you will play better because of this.

Just as significant as the physical downsides of over-training are the mental downsides of over-training. Most notably, over-training can lead to burnout. An athlete may think their extreme work ethic is helping them reach their goals, but if it backfires and leads to burning out and quitting, it is all for nothing.

Furthermore, if you're over-training, your mind will always be in a state of exhaustion. A fresh mind is needed for peak performance. An exhausted, stressed out mind hurts performance.

So what is the solution? The solution is to find the line between ideal training and over-training, and not going past it. Train enough that is needed to reach your goals, but not too much that it causes physical and mental harm. Every athlete and sport is different, so it is hard to say what is the right amount of training/rest time. However, I do have some suggestions. There are a couple different approaches you can take. This is one that I personally like: you can train very hard for 6 days of the week, perhaps 30-40 hours in total (consisting of practices, workouts, film room, etc.). Then 1 day of the week you should take a complete rest day where you don't do any intense physical or mental training activity.

This is a general guideline. It can be adjusted depending on your typical training day. Perhaps your training days are especially grueling. Then it may be smart to take 2 days off to rest. Perhaps your training days are less intense and you can go 10-14 days without a rest day. It is your job as an athlete to find out what your body and mind can handle and adjust your training schedule to maintain physical/mental health and peak performance. It is also important to remember that is is possible to over emphasis rest too much. If you rest too much, you won't improve enough to reach your goals. You need to find the perfect balance. You have to always monitor yourself and determine whether you need more or less training.

Also, there are certain times in the year where more rest is needed. You can call these vacations. Taking 3-7 days off for special occasions can be very beneficial.

A major factor in how you should schedule your training/rest days is the quality of your rest. Some people rest better than others, and therefore need less of it. Another factor is your motivation level and mindset. These are factors that I will talk about next week and the following week.