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Rest is Best

Rest is Best

Telling someone to rest is a lot easier than doing it yourself.  Telling someone to do ANYTHING is easier said than done.

Throughout my blogging journey, many people have emailed or asked my thoughts on topics including running, life, and you guessed it: rest.  If there is ever a question of should, I give my honest advice to rest and see how you feel.  If you are injured with a bone-related injury, always rest.  If you injured with a muscular related injury, sometime rest will help but sometimes it won’t.  Rest will never hurt you, and missing an individual run or even a week is nothing in the long scheme of things.

running Rest is Best

Anyway, I’m not a coach or doctor, so giving medical or training advice is not what this post is about.  I’m just a woman telling people to rest including myself.

In my training recap on Monday, I talked about my personal needs and why rest was best for me right now.  I’m often out of my house for 12+ hours a day.  That isn’t the whole day, and many people are out of their house longer.  I wish I could squeeze running in, but I would be more tired and more exhausted. Realistically, there wasn’t a point.  It was better for me to take a few days off, get quality sleep, focus on things currently going on, and regroup from there.

So this week, that is precisely what I did.  I definitely feel much better because of it.  I do think I might do a short run tomorrow and see how I feel.

Here are a Few Important Reasons to Rest:

Refocus Goals:

Right now I have no idea what I want to train for. Do I want to train for another marathon? How about a 5k PR? Maybe even try and better my half marathon PR? I have no clue.

Sometimes you just need to take time off regardless of whether you reached your goal or not.  With training, you put your body through a tough period.  It doesn’t matter if your body ends up in a PR or not, you still put yourself through tough training. Taking time off allows you to reflect, and think about what you want in the future.

Emotional Break:

As hard as it can be to admit this, running and training can be exhausting.  For me, running has never been a therapy of any kind.  It is never been my way to “escape the world”.  Training for a goal race can be exhausting.  I need time away from the sport to fall in love with it again, and I think we all do.

While it has only been a few days, I have already felt fonder of the sport again.  Today, Thursday, I want to run.  Last Thursday, I had no interest and even loathed the idea of running.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder:

For me, I like to crave running again.  I want to feel like I want to run!  Along the same lines of mental recovery, it’s important to want to run.  If you don’t start running again feeling “refreshed,” you’ll end up in a burn out longer and faster.

Recovery:

If you don’t allow your body time to recover from training stress, you will continue to feel worn down and it will take you longer to recover from runs (I began to feel this).

Injury:

As one of the most injury prone people out there, I’ve learned I do need extra rest and recovery. If you are not able to recover, your body will be more susceptible to injury. It is better to take a few days or week off early, than several months off with a serious injury.  I’m not injured now, but there have been a few times I should have rested to keep a minor injury from becoming serious.

Healing Small Aches and Pains:

Sometimes you have small aches and pains that you don’t realize you have.  An amount of time off, allows your body to heal.  Running every other day or every few days doesn’t let your body to heal as quickly.  By taking time off, your body will use more energy to recover versus recovering from daily runs as well as small aches and pains.

I never regret my running breaks.  This one will be short, but I’m getting to the point my legs and mind feel like they “want to run.”  Plus hopefully next week my schedule is a bit more forgiving to add it into my schedule.

Questions for you:

Do you take a break every year?

What are you currently training for?

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8 responses

  1. So many smart points here, I have nothing to add, except that sometimes you don’t realize how much you need rest until after you take it.

  2. I never take a planned time off from lifting or any other type of exercise, but when life forces a rest, I embrace it. I need to find something to train for, but right now I just have some personal performance related goals.

  3. Thank you for this. I have been working hard the last few months to build my base for fall but in need of a break. Runners are slaves to routine (as you know) but the last few weeks I have not been looking forward to my morning runs as much. We are taking a summer vacation soon and I figured I would just plug through until vacay and then enjoy a short break. No serious aches or pains but this morning I felt so mentally depleted I took my shoes off right after I put them on. I just didn’t have another day in me. So for the next week or so, if I feel like it I will and if I don’t I won’t. No set schedule and just running by feel, if I want to at all. I have a half marathon in 4 weeks that I planned to use as a fitness test and I know I won’t be able to dig in and push myself if I don’t take a break starting now. When I read your post I knew I made the right decision. Cheers~

    • I’m glad you made the right decision for you Nicole. As runners, I think we have all been there. Sorry for the delayed response, I hope you enjoyed your vacation. Where did you go? Hope you are you feeling better now!

  4. I’m similar to John. I don’t exactly plan a break, but I do like to have periods when I’m not training for anything in particular. Currently training for my first 50K (in October), so this training cycle is going to be longer than any before!

    • It always feels good to just relax sometimes and not worry about anything. Which 50k are you training for? That’s so exciting!

      • Cougar Mountain – it’s part of a local trail series. Have to seriously train for climbs – 7200 ft gain over the course. That might be small potatoes to many folks, but coming so recently from the East Coast, that’s some gonna be work! (We’ve started a blog to chart our adventures as recreational trail runner: boundary-conditions.com)

  5. Yes! This post is so spot on! Thanks Hollie! 🙂

    After taking over 5 months off I have fallen back in love with running. My running has changed for the better because of the time off. I now run/train in a more sustainable healthy enjoyable way. I no longer am a “streaker” and right now only run 5x a week. Since decreasing quantity my quality has improved and not just pace ways, just in the way I feel overall. “I get to run” has replaced “I have to run” I’m really excited to see where this healthier way of training takes me!!

    As long as I stay healthy over the summer, I plan to do the Seaside Half in Seaside Heights,NJ in October….that was my very first half and I would love to do it again!

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