A runner likes to run almost to the point that, especially if you include those that have long streaks of not missing a day, it becomes an addiction. Obviously it is a healthier addiction than what most can be, but it becomes one nonetheless. Planning your rest is just as important as planning your next race or your next track workout. The rest I am talking about below is the seasonal rest or the ‘long’ rest, not just the weekly built-in rest in your normal schedule.
Know Yourself First……
You can generally build your running up to a point that you are feeling great, running many miles and running a lot of races. This is all relative to your previous self. If you once ran 12 miles/week and now are at 20 miles/week, that is a big change for you. If you once were running an average pace of 9:45/mile and now it is 8:30/mile, that is a big change for you. Only you know that. You know how you feel after every long run and every week. You know your bumps and bruises. You know your sleep patterns and your daily life activities and how you feel at the end of the day.
Signs of Breaking Down……
We all cycle during our running careers. There are ‘up’ times and there are ‘down’ times. These don’t only need to be when we are injured or not. If you know yourself, and you be honest with yourself, you will know when it is time to rest. Your body will be extra sore and you can’t foam roll out of it. You are getting sick more often than usual. You aren’t getting that ‘runner’s high’ while you are running – your runs feel ‘bleh’ and you are going through the motions. You start feeling that nagging plantars or whatever it is that always bothers you. Perhaps you start getting less sleep. Please take note of these signs as they relate to you and listen to them.
Your Body Says Stop……
Your body tells you when to slow down or stop. You need to pick up on it and that comes with experience. While I try to take off a week every 18 weeks, sometimes that does not happen. My body gives me all the signs and then I have to realize that it is time. This rest is different than my shorter runs during the week or the occasional day off. I need a week, 10 days, etc. For me that is what I need and I try to time it as best as I can for the end of a season, long race or training cycle. Sometimes I need it at a different time.
Please listen to your body. A body that does not have time to rest will not recover enough to peak at a later time. A boy that does not rest is more prone to injury and sickness.
For most of us non-Olympians, you will have another race or more days to run – let your body recover to peak later.
Trials of Miles
For more on training cycles and rest: Click Here
For more on pain vs soreness and rest: Click Here