Now I still have to make myself work out when I don't want to, but I've learned to listen to my body much better throughout this process. There is a difference between feeling lazy and not wanting to work out vs needing a rest a day. In the beginning, I felt guilty for any day I didn't work out, or if I was sick and couldn't work out I stressed about it so much.
There have been times in the last couple years I've done too much, and I pay for it by being so sore I can barely walk or get up off of a chair. I have overdone the workouts, working out every single day for weeks with no break, and thinking I needed to do this because I hadn't lost weight for a while. I pushed myself to work out when I was sick, and only got sicker. If I'd just taken a few days to rest, I'd have healed faster. You get burned out when you do this and constantly stress your body too much.
My attitude now is much different, and the reason is because I now know that a day, or even a week of missed workouts when you're sick will not affect you in the long run. That's what I am doing this for--my health in the long run. On this journey, I've become very tuned in to what my body is telling me, and I know how to listen to it better. I know when I am just sore, vs when I am having a weird pain and need to rest to avoid injury. There are always mornings when you don't want to get up when you're tired, but when you wake up and feel fatigued like you're coming down with something, you sometimes need the extra rest.
There may be people who think you need to push yourself to your max in every single workout. I used to feel that way a little bit, but now I realize that it's about balance. In training for races, like when I trained for the half, you're instructed to run some runs easier than others. So, I listen to my body. When I am energized, I will go all out and run as fast as I can. There are some runs I just don't have it in me. Sometimes I am really sore, but feel like I have the energy to do something, so I walk, or do yoga. I am not saying you should never push yourself because pushing yourself past your comfort zone is what changes you and makes you stronger, but what I am saying is that I think balance is good. We all need rest days to not have to think about working out, and we all need some recovery exercise days where we do something that is easier than we're used to.
In 3 years I've never had an actual injury that has set me back for a length of time. After I ran my first 10k last year, I had a strange pain in my hip that kind of freaked me out. So, I went online and looked up info about it, stretched a lot, and for one week I didn't run. I did easier exercise, like walking, gardening and yoga. After a week it felt better, so I did some shorter runs. If I'd pushed myself to run when I felt something was off, I could have really injured myself. Earlier this year I had an issue with my ankle bothering me, so I did other workouts until that felt better.
As you get more fit and in tune with your body, you learn to be more honest about what you're feeling. It's normal to feel muscle soreness and burning when doing something new or that's harder than you're used to, but pain that is awful or really nagging at you is a different thing. I like being sore after I work out or run, because I know my muscles got worked well, but being in pain and not being able to walk is not good, and that's happened to me when I've overdone it.
On the other hand, sitting around like a lump because you're sore is not good either. It's good to get up and walk around and stretch. The more fit you are, the less likely you are to have injuries. As people get older, the more muscle they have, the less likely they are to get injured. We've all seen those little old ladies speed walking around the neighborhood and shoveling mulch in their gardens. These people are not the ones falling and breaking their hips, because they have kept their muscles and bodies fit by being active. It doesn't mean you have to run marathons or lift weights like a body builder, it simply means finding ways to be active on a regular basis.
How many rest days do you take a week? I normally like to work out 5 days a week and have 2 rest days, but there are weeks I'll only work out 4, and others where I might work out for 6.