I love the off-season. That part of my training where I don't have an event planned for awhile. I get to look back over my last season (not a good one as I was plaqued with an injury!), look at what I learned, make the neccessary tweaks (more speed work, more time spent in the pool, more drills, less endurance runs, train certain muscle groups vs. others, etc) and plan for next season. I always get a bit giddy! The hope, opportunity and challenge the next season will hold!!! I'm reinvigorated to start.
But I also look forward to a couple weeks of rest. Just like a lazy Sunday or sleeping in after a long week, your exercise routine needs a change. I turn the intensity down. I do a lot more stretching, yoga, pilates and stability work. I get an extra massage or two! :) And I choose activities for pure enjoyment versus the event I'm training to compete in next.
Not only does my body get a rest, but so does my mind. I don't have to think about these exercises. I can just enjoy them. I can focus on the environment around me, rather than how far or hard I've run or biked.
And the holidays are always a perfect time for me to take this rest period. My personal and professional to-do-lists overflow with things that need my time or attention. Its nice to be able to relax in my training. I still eat well and get in a good workout, but I get to shift my focus a bit to other things.
Soon enough my training will pick back up and hopefully I'll be cleared by the physical therapist to get back to running (fingers crossed!). And when that time comes my mind and body will be ready for the next challenge. So take your "rest" period. Its just as important for your psychological, emotional and physical states as any other part of your training program!