Tempo runs, long runs, and speed workouts are crucial parts of training, but there is something else that is just as important—if not more so. REST. Though not everyone may have the patience for it, not running is just as important as fitting in all those other workouts. Rest is the key to recovery and recuperation.
Taking a rest day allows your body to absorb your training. When you run, you aren’t just building strength and stamina. Running breaks down your body with tiny amounts of tissue damage. Your body uses its rest day to repair that damage. Not giving it the opportunity to rebuild negates all that hard work you put in. Without rest, you’ll eventually end up stale or with injuries.
Rest days will look different for everyone, so it’s important to listen to your body. Some runners need a rest day every few days. Others may need one once a week or maybe only two to three times a month. However often they come, use the time to rejuvenate and refresh your body and mind. Sleep in, take a nap, cross some things off your to-do list you’ve been meaning to. Think of rest days as a necessary part of training that will improve your race times. You may actually see a boost in your fitness after a day of rest.
Taking a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t exercise at all. Active recovery is great for your body. If you are on a running streak, it might mean running the bare minimum needed to fulfill that goal. It might mean an easy jog if you’re an elite athlete and running around 100 miles a week. A rest day from running might mean core work or a spin class you’ve been meaning to try. Active recovery could be walking your dogs around the block, going to a yoga class, chasing a toddler around … Whatever it looks like to you, make it work and enjoy the time.
5 SIGNS YOU NEED A REST DAY
- Running isn’t fun or you find yourself resenting it.
- You’re still sore after days.
- You find yourself getting sick often—a sign of a low immune system.
- Your resting heart rate is higher or lower than normal.
- You’re just plain tired.
Rachel Randall is the go-to girl for all marketing, media, and events at Fleet Feet Sports. She has run more marathons that she can count, including the 2017 NYC marathon in November.
Do you have questions about getting started or finding a plan to work for you? Stop in and talk to anyone on our staff. We’ll be happy to help!