I’ve been on break the last three weeks because when I can, I try to practice what I preach. In this case, rest is a critical and integral part of training and athletic success.
If you have a dream that you really want to turn into reality, then one thing that MUST be a regular part of your journey is REST!
While it’s true that the only way to reach your goals is by consistent and sustained hard work over the long haul, without regular periods of time off thrown in there, all that hard work of yours will be less efficient and effective.
Your mind and body need periodic breaks from that journey of yours to keep you mentally and physically in good shape. If you operate on the “more is better” principle of training where you obsessively push yourself to work out every day, 52 weeks a year, virtually non-stop, then eventually both your mind and body will begin to break down. Soon you will notice diminishing performance returns. As your physical and emotional energy steadily move in the wrong direction, you will find it more and more difficult to motivate yourself to keep on keeping on.
Regular “vacations” from training allow your mind a chance to remain excited and interested. These breaks keep your athletic quest in perspective for you and fuel your motivation. Time off refills your mental gas tank and leaves you looking forward to getting back to the training. If you can’t wait to get back and work out, your training will always be of a dramatically higher quality than if you’re tired, bored or dreading the training.
The very same can be said for your body. Without enough, consistent periods of rest, your body which is your morst important piece of athletic equipment will begin to break down. Overtraining will make you vulnerable to sickness and overuse injuries. Athletes who don’t pay close attention to their physical energy level and work load, who obsessively push themselves to work hard no matter what, soon find that they are suffering from chronic physical problems. Like your mind, your body needs regular breaks to heal and re-energize.
If you feel guilty taking these rests, if your coach makes you feel guilty for wanting them, if your parents add to your guilt burden, then something is very wrong here! If you really want to be successful over the long haul, if you truly want to turn that athletic dream of yours into a reality, then you must change your relationship with rest. Taking appropriate breaks does not mean that you’re being lazy. It does not mean that you don’t care and it does not mean that you’re not working hard enough.
Bottom line: REST IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF TRAINING AND YOU CAN’T BECOME A CHAMPION WITHOUT ENOUGH OF IT!