BY: DEVON YANKO For most of my running career, I feel like I've been harboring a dirty little secret: I take rest days. Not sometimes, not as needed, like religiously take rest days. Complete rest, unless you count walking to/from my car to get a massage. It is almost incomprehensible for me to run on Mondays. I manage to be a high mileage runner and rest like a boss once a week. But I never felt like rest was something that was celebrated in social media. Much like being “busy” has become a weird status symbol, so did not resting. When I was working on 3am bakery shifts and running to the bakery at 2:30am after 4 hours of sleep, I was constantly told how badass it made me. It didn’t feel badass, it was necessity and always grinding without rest, recovery or sleep simply made me physically deteriorate. I couldn’t race well during those years because I wasn’t resting. And without rest, you cannot be the athlete you work so hard in training to be. So why isn’t it celebrated, hash tagged and splashed all over social media? Thankfully I am not the only one who thinks this way. Enter #restdaybrags. Created by my friends Amelia, Jonathan and Caroline to glorify rest. Rest day brags is making resting great again and encouraging more people to enjoy their rest days and see it as a crucial part of training. I for one have enjoyed following their Instagram and seeing so many people embrace the movement. For my part, it has made me consider even more how to make my rest day brag worthy (room service french fries, anyone??). We interviewed the Rest Day Brags team to learn more about the message and movement (errr… you know what we mean).
DY: Tell us the idea behind Rest Day Brags? Why this hashtag? Why Now?
CB: #restdaybrags is just that…bragging (in a classy way, of course), and glorifying REST as a crucial part of training. A rest day is a FULL day of NOTHING, in order to allow the body to decrease inflammation and come down off of the high intensity training that it has undergone the days prior. The hardest part about taking a day off (as we all know), is the mental aspect of taking a day completely off. It actually ends up being the best training of it all - to learn and train your brain to view a rest day as PART of “training”.
— Rest Day Brags (@restdaybrags) May 16, 2017
DY: How did you three find yourselves working together?
CB: JL you’re good at this answer….
JL: Well, believe it or not it all came together because of a pair of taco socks. I was racing The North Face California (wearing a taco themed team uniform in the marathon relay, of course) and Amelia and Caroline were watching the 50 miler (with Devon!). Caroline saw the socks and said something to Amelia, and the connection was made later that day. God bless tacos.
Jokes aside - a tweet from Amelia’s coach to which Amelia responded to saying “why do the hard days get all the love? What about the off days, where the recovery and gains really happen??” which was incredibly well received, and a movement was born.
When my Garmin tells me to "Move!" all day after a hard workout pic.twitter.com/yQgSdV3Enh
— Sally Bergesen (@oiselle_sally) July 6, 2017
DY: It’s becoming quite the movement - why do you think it’s catching on?
CB: #restdaybrags catching on because people are starting to feel the effects of burnout and adrenal fatigue more and more due to high amounts of volume in training, paired with work, life, and other stressors. It is a REAL thing, and when it is finally identified as something that is affecting multiple areas of one's life, it
AB: And whether or not we like to admit it, people look for a way to receive validation for their training on social media - it's why there are accounts with tens of thousands of followers where it's just pictures of run statistics or a snap of their Garmin with their "epic" runs. Celebrating rest days gives folks another way for validation - it gives them a means to connect with others, and to know that part of training IS resting.
JL: Totally. People feel a connection to another sense of community, just in a very different way. People are cheering each other on for taking that extra (and necessary) day off, or eating that comfort food that brings us so much pleasure. Amelia’s coach prescribes “Burger Sunday” (or a plant based alternative) which is a high quality Rest Day Brag in and of itself, giving honor to your body by fueling it with what we need to recover, and if something brings you joy, there’s no reason to limit / restrict it. Part of what we’re trying to build here is the understanding that food/nutrition is such a key aspect of training, and so many athletes are underfueled, so we want to help remove the stigma there too.
DY: Favorite Rest Day Brag to date?
— Rest Day Brags (@restdaybrags) April 1, 2017
CB: One Sunday, I forced myself to do absolutely nothing. I moved 189 steps and I talley’ed up 11 hours on the couch that day, along with 5 meals and some Dairy Free Coconut Cool Whip. Does that count? ;)
JL: Resting so hard today I can’t even be bothered to clean, so I hired a maid. #minimalenergywasted”
AB: the one that started it all - beers in the shower, just because.
— Rest Day Brags (@restdaybrags) June 2, 2017
DY: Wish / message / promise to the over-spent, under-rested runner? Why should they #restdaybrag too?
CB: Runner, swimmer, CrossFitter, badminton champ….it is all the same. Overtraining is like dehydration… by the time you start to notice it, you should have already began to make a change. SO, incorporating rest into your routine (even when you “feel” like you may not need it), is necessary because it then prevents you from getting to the point of no return. #maintenanceiseverything
Our friend Brad Stulberg says it best in his book: “stress + rest = growth” The rest days are where the magic happens. If you can’t run fast on your fast days, it’s probably because you’re doing too much on the easy/off days! Let’s remove the stigma of “more is more” and help people feel better about making the smart (and often harder) decision to listen to their body!
So, there you have it. The rest days are something to be respected and celebrated, so go forth and give yourself those well deserved days off!