Sometimes it’s nice to take a “break” from working out every day. That isn’t to say that I didn’t run today – I did, and I also went for a bike ride as well.
Today was an easy day, though, despite the fact that both of these things happened. It’s good to slow down and take it easy once in awhile. It gives you the opportunity to do a number of things:
1) Recover. While you are still being active, and still moving about, it’s good to take it easy on your muscles every so often. This way you are not overtaxing your system all of the time, and it gives your body some time to rebuild itself. Hard workouts are good, I do them frequently – long runs, lifting, cycling faster – but slowing down and riding or running easy is necessary for overall health and injury prevention.
2) Spend time with family. This easy ride was all about family. I rarely get the opportunity to go out and do something active with everyone involved. While I am usually in a group for my running, it’s not usually family, though occasionally my husband will join me for the Urban Herd (a weekly free run from Gazelle Sports in Holland). But we run such a different pace that it’s hard for me sometimes. On a bike, it’s easier to slow a bit, and actually get to ride together. With all of us, it was really a lot of fun.
3) Take in the sights. When you’re running or biking hard, you notice more than you would in a vehicle, but not as much as you do when you’ve slowed down. It’s much easier to take in the sights and sounds when you’re not so concentrated on performance. Today I saw some pretty cool things – the largest cow I have seen in my life (whom we dubbed king cow), a unicorn crossing sign, a t-rex riding a bicycle (okay, so it was a sticker, but still), many fruit trees, a wine sign, birds, flowers of all kinds, and some really cool ruins. All things that I may not have noticed if my mind had been focused elsewhere.
4) Have fun. Not all workouts are fun. Yes, they are all, for the most part, gratifying in the end. However, easier rides and runs tend to be fun. All of the above items make them so. Being able to talk and laugh and breathe and sight see is an amazing gift – being able to do those things on a bicycle with the people you love is even better.
So, while not every workout should be so easy, occasionally the off day is good. Enjoy them, rest, relax, take it easy. I promise you’ll be a better person for it.