It's a necessary part of the program, so why is it so tough to honor and respect?
Not that anyone was asking, but I'll give you my answer:
I think "resting" is tough to do because there's not any one perfect way to do it.
In other words, none of us train the exact same way. After all, most of us don't share the same expectations, goals, or even abilities...it would be crazy for any of us to train the same way and expect the same results. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing.
Therefore, it's my belief that resting should be treated the same way. Since no two of us train the same way, I don't think it's wise (or realistic) to assume we all need the same amount of rest or recovery time.
Myself, I'm a firm believer in active recovery days. While I allow myself ample recovery time, I seldom take a full rest day. Even when I'm in a marathon-training cycle, my "rest days" are not spent sitting still or keeping off my feet. My body feels best when it's in motion (even on my non-running days). For me, movement is medicinal.
How do I "move" on my recovery days, without over-taxing my body? For me, that means low (or no) impact options, like walking or (in especially cold weather) the elliptical. A little bit of sweat equity does my body (and mind) wonders, and it helps to keep the blood flowing as my body recovers from intense workouts or training runs (or races).
This year has really presented many an opportunity to test this theory on myself. With most of my races cancelled (or, at the very least, gone virtual), I didn't have any strict timeframes or training schedules to adhere to. Once my marathon was deferred, I was given free reign to do as I pleased.
Up until my stress fracture (mid-August), my main objective was to stay active without overdoing it. I did that by running 3-4 times per week, and my weekend long runs rarely exceeded 10 miles. My monthly mileage hasn't even broken the century mark in 2020. I have strength-trained, usually, once a week. There has been an occasional speed session or HIIT workout, and plenty of walking. Biking was a staple supplement to my routine, but became my main poison once the stress fracture up-ended my world.
How has everything worked out for me? While there have been occasional DOMS appearances, there have not been any injuries (the stress fracture is believed to have been the result of an accidental sprain/strain on my foot from the derecho clean-up, not from exercise itself).
Obviously, I acknowledge that some athletes may need more rest and recovery than I do, and some may need less. I also respect that there are others who run many more miles than I do and strength-train with a lot more intensity than I prefer for myself. I try to keep all of my fitness endeavors in a balanced routine that works for me and my schedule. As I have said, more than once, we all get to do our fitness our way.
Anyways, those are my thoughts, and that's what works for me.
Your turn...what works for you? Do you take full rest days, or allow yourself active recovery days instead? Has 2020 altered your approach to fitness and/or rest/recovery?