Rest Weeks Save Training Cycles

Rest Weeks Save Training Cycles

Over the last few months, my running has gone well.  I PRed in the Phoenix Half marathon and ran one of my best executed races at the Shamrock Half marathon.  Running felt great, until it didn’t.

First, my body was tired at the Adrenaline 5k.  Then I felt exhausted after the Phillies 5k the week after.  My body caught up with me, and by last Monday I was exhausted.

My college coach once said: rest weeks save seasons.

But, I didn’t listen to it last year when I had similar red flags.  In all, it turned into burnout, and I took most of spring and summer off.  Had I taken a week or two off, I might have been in a different spot last year.

Rest Weeks Save Training Cycles

Why Are Rest Weeks Beneficial?

If you don’t recover from hard races, workout, or runs, you won’t get faster.  Let’s be honest though, and that is much easier said than done.

Training for anything is exhausting. Each week, you head out the door on tired legs preparing for one race. If you don’t train enough, you could end up short of your goal or even injured.  However, if you train too hard, you could find yourself with an injury or fatigued during the race start.  The exact feeling I had at the Atlantic City half marathon last year.

So What are Some Signs You Should Take a Rest Week?

You Haven’t Taken a Rest Week Recently:

Well isn’t that easy?  If you haven’t had a rest week in a while, consider adding one to your training.  Even if you feel “good,” extra rest doesn’t hurt anyone.

You’re Exhausted:

Exhaustion is not just physical fatigue but mental too. It’s something I started to experience and what led to my few days off last week.  It’s the feeling of “blah” that makes you feel like you don’t want to be out there.

A Few Ways to Stop a Burn Out:

First, stop running.  It won’t help the situation.

  • Find another hobby: For me,  running is fun, but I enjoy many other things include hiking and painting.  Find another hobby that you enjoy and to fill your time.
  • Massages: For me, I find deep tissue massages, Graston, and ART to be the best.
  • Cross Train: It’s not my first recommendation, as I do believe people occasionally need full rest but if you find yourself much happier cross training, do that instead.

Burn out happens to most people.  I’ve learned the hard way, that running through it won’t help the matter.  In short, most solutions are simple: take some time off.  For some people it takes a few days, for some, it’s a few months.  Like an injury, if you catch it earlier before later, you’ll be much better off.

You don’t gain fitness in a few days, and you don’t lose either.

Questions for you: Have you ever burned out from something?  How did you get through it?


  1. Yep! Going through that right now. Mentally/physically burned out from running and sort of dealing with some tendonitis near the achilles area has turned me to cross training and strength training. Going to do that as long as I feel like…it’s not too bad! Hope your down time helps you feel better!

  2. Great advice! I burn out on things all the time. Then I take a step back and come back when I feel ready to. With running, I’ll usually just decrease how much I’m running, but still try to do at least 2-3 easier runs per week just to keep my legs moving.

  3. Great post. Yes I was there last may until late August I took a break from running and it felt great. I was so burned out on running. And rest days do help out alot your body loves them rest days..
    Happy running hollie..

  4. You are in a different league than me so I can’t add much, but to say that we should always listen to our bodies.
    If it’s time to take a break and rest, than that’s what you should do.
    Best luck with your running!

    1. I think it affects everyone despite ability level. We can definitely all use with more rest. Best of luck with your running too!

  5. Great post! It’s really good that you are aware of this and learning from experience. I am going to take over a week of rest after Boston!

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