Loss of energy? Unusually stiff muscles? It’s probably time to take a few days off…
If you’re anything like me, taking more than one day off running at a time can actually be really hard. I like running too much and don’t like to be away from it for too long. Plus, I feel guilty if I have a few days off…
But we’ve got to realise that rest days are actually the most important. And if your body is feeling sluggish, you probably need some extra time to recover.
I read an interesting article in Runner’s World recently. It was speaking about why the Kenyans are so awesome. A factor contributing to their awesomeness (one that is often over-looked) is how much they value rest. YES they run a crazy amount of miles, but boy, those guys also know how to put their feet up.
What good is a hard training session if you don’t have sufficient rest?
Let me break it down. If on Sunday I had a really hard session – Monday ought to be my rest day. I shouldn’t do another solid session on Monday as my muscles won’t have had sufficient time to recover – they’ll be weak, fragile, at risk of damage.
A smart runner would do the next heavy session on Wednesday. The few days steering clear of a hard work out will have allowed the tired muscles to adjust back to peak form – ready to smash some PBs.
These last few months I have learnt to appreciate the importance of good rest more than ever. The result? — BETTER RESULTS.
Monday is my rest day. Every Monday I aim to do NOTHING. (Except go to work). Every runner should have AT LEAST one day off a week. You need it. You will become faster for it, I promise. If I have had some particularly hard sessions that week I’ll take two days off. Or if I’m not feeling well in myself – you’ll find me on the sofa. I also always take the day off before a big race so I’m nice and fresh, raring to go. I don’t often have a complete day off the day after a race though – 20 E.P helps to get rid of the lactic acid.
As you become fitter, you’ll find that you will recover more quickly from workouts – but pile on the miles too quickly and you could push your body too far. If you’re feeling especially tired or suffering niggling injuries that seem to hang around, TAKE A DAY OFF. OR TWO. OR EVEN THREE. It’s better to turn up to your race slightly undertrained than not to make it to the start line at all.
STAY SAFE KIDS.
Run to get faster, run to get fitter, run to feel happier.
All the best,