The old phrase “less is more” can be very helpful in the world of running. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe in pushing beyond physical and mental limits, when done appropriately. However, keep in mind there is a fine line between consistency and compulsivity.
Rest should include sleep and scheduled days off from running. Rest is planned as a recovery from intense training. Sleep allows your body to repair itself from the adversities of training allowing you to proceed with further advancement. As for myself, I often get caught up in the excitement of starting a different running program or running in a new location. I have made the mistake of increasing my mileage too quickly and ignoring the signs of fatigue- all with best of intentions, of course! On the other hand, if changes are not made, I will one day find myself injured and unable to finish my goals. So, the question everyone wants and answer too is… how do you know what your limitations are?
Factors that may indicate lack of proper rest:
- Fatigued all the time.
- Your workouts are not improving.
- Weak and heavy legs during workouts.
- No longer like running and dread working out.
- You just want to shut off the alarm clock and go back to sleep…your gusto is gone!
- Elevated resting heart rate. Elevation of 10 beats or more from normal baseline may indicate fatigue, dehydration, or early stages of a virus.
Recovery is broken down into to categories: active and passive. Active recovery is low intensity exercise. Walking, spinning, yoga, and swimming are examples of active recovery. Resistance is low and pace is very relaxed. The benefits of active recovery are improved endurance and increased blood volume. Passive recovery is nothing but REST. This recovery time allows your body to restore glycogen stores and decrease inflammation, which may lead to overuse injuries. Passive recovery is also a key to preventing mental burnout.