But they're important, MOST especially when increasing mileage or embarking on a new training plan.
Yesterday I ran an easy 3 miles at well over 9 min pace, and then did a core cardio and balance workout (from the recovery week of insanity). While neither workout was intense, my body felt heavy and achey, likely pains from increasing mileage. Looking back on last week, I probably did not take enough rest. Even my "rest day" contained a fairly hefty strength workout.
Because my main focus is staying injury free while increasing mileage, I need to be utterly vigilant when my muscles and bones begin giving me those "pre-injury" signals.
But rest days are also emotionally and mentally important. A day of rest, in my faith, is a day to take stock, give thanks for the blessings in your life, and spend time with the people you love. Acknowledging internally that it's ok to take a rest day from running is a struggle; but one worth fighting. I know I'll be thanking myself later this week when my body feels strong and rested. But its also good knowing that today, I'll have a little bit of extra time to catch up on some work, to spend time with my gorgeous husband, and to give thanks for having two legs and being able to run in the first place.