Running restfully or restfully running? Either way, I have come to the conclusion that rest is indeed…….necessary. It took me some time to come to terms with this way of thinking, however, I have finally realized the importance of rest. My running journey has definitely consisted of both memorable and painful moments. Now, when I look back, those painful moments perhaps could have been avoided, if I had listened to my body. It is crazy to think, that at one point, I considered even one rest day more of an obstacle as opposed to a benefit to my overall running progress. Little did I realize, that one rest day is the equivalent of stronger recovery, which in turn leads to a stronger run.
After running my first marathon, I realized the importance of rest. Prior to the marathon, I had read multiple training plans in order to prepare for the race. Unfortunately, I listened to none of them. It is advised that one should not run intensely closer to the date of the marathon. Well….I definitely didn’t follow that advice, and a part of this comes back to the mantra of “No rest days.” I completely threw that advice out the door, and when I was 10 miles into the Marathon, I immediately realized the mistake I had made.
Now, running has become even more important to me, and for this reason I do listen to my body and allow it to rest whenever necessary. Rest days have become an important part of my training, because they allow me to come back as an even better runner. So, why was it that at one point I associated rest days with slower progress? As a new runner, I was at a stage in my running where I felt that taking one day off would put me behind all other runners. I had created this theory within my own mind, but it was far from the truth.
Running is an intense sport, and the body needs to be given time and space to recover. Although, you are building up strength, you are also breaking down tissue. The crazy part in all of this is that – if you do not allow your body to properly recover in alignment with the intensity of your run, all your hard-work will go to waste.
Running every single day of the week without allowing your body time to recover may also cause stress fractures. This is the result of repetitive stress being caused to the bone tissue. They key here is to space out your runs according to the level of intensity of your runs. If you completed an intense run on Monday, try to run at a slower and easier pace the following day. Rest days are important, but so is spacing out the intensity of your runs throughout the week in such a way where there is enough time given for your bones to repair and reset.
Running also causes impact to the tendons (this is the tissue that holds the bone to the muscle) – which take longer to repair, due to the lack of blood flow. Putting immense tension on the tendons can cause overuse injury and inflammation if enough rest is not taken. It is important to keep this in mind when scheduling your rest days, so that your tendons are given extra time to recover.
Running restfully can give you more time to reflect on your overall approach to your runs. This is very essential when trying to improve on your running from all perspectives. Resting also allows time for other things that are important in your life. Sending so much optimism your way,