When to Rest Up?

As a runner, I find it almost impossible to not run two consecutive days.  Sometimes though this is a necessary evil.  For the past three days, I took COMPLETE rest!  It felt so terrible yesterday, but during my run today I realized how much I benefitted from it.

I have a Garmin watch so it keeps track of all of my runs and I can look at them in calendar form.  I had not taken two consecutive days off of running since the week after the Savannah Marathon (early November).  Since then I have run another marathon, a half and am getting ready for another half in about a month.  My legs were just in pain, agony through my run Thursday and I knew I was going to have to take some time off the road.

There is a difference between letting the lazy devil in your head take over and recognize the need for rest.  The way I felt today running proved to me that I had made the right choice.  I ran at a fairly easy pace for about 7 miles and literally felt myself smiling the whole time.  I am going to roll out my legs with “The Stick” later to make that good feeling last for a while.

My key signs that I needed a small break:

  • Pain in my legs for 4+ runs
  • Complete and utter desire not to go (I love going so that really meant something for me)
  • Decreased intensity had no bearing on discomfort: taking it easier should have felt easier but it didn’t

I have always been scared to take a break for fear of losing fitness, even though I know it is impossible to lose that fitness in 3 days.  Moral of the story people: listen to your body and your mind!!  Running is supposed to make you feel good, you should want to go and you shouldn’t be in excruciating pain while you are doing it.  If any of these are true for you, your brain and/or your legs could benefit from a short hiatus.

Also, if complete rest isn’t possible, try yoga or spend a longer than normal amount of time stretching (or using The Stick)!