For many years the concept of resting has been alien to me. Surely more running and more training means fitter and faster doesn’t it?
If you run all the time, you get faster?
The straight forward answer to this is no, not at all and unfortunately this is something I have had to learn the hard way. Rest is really underestimated but it’s probably up there in terms of its importance in training. Resting allows your body to heal and rejuvenate. It allows your autonomous nervous system to recover helping your immune system. If you do too much running you may find that you pick up coughs and colds easier as well as injuries.
Rest = tissue repair, it helps you recharge, prevent exhaustion and prevent injury!
By resting it allows you to be ready for the next training session allowing you to train harder. It also allows you to have more time to allocate to alternative training such as climbing and more importantly time to spend stretching and strengthening which is also often overlooked. So if you are like me, who finds rest in the true sense difficult, you could do some active recovery.
Back in 2012 when I did my first marathon, the Manchester marathon, I was very naïve. I ran most days and at the time I was playing hockey for Didsbury. I was training and playing games on the days I wasn’t running but I would still run 6 miles before going to hockey training for 2 hours. Looking back now I actually can’t believe I thought this was a good idea but I guess that’s what experience gives you. I ended up picking up a knee injury, nothing serious but it meant I ended up having to take 3 weeks out of my training, resting to help resolve the problem. This is not conducive to training or longevity in running.
“You would think as a Physiotherapist I would know better “
You would think as a Physiotherapist I would know better and theoretically I know exactly what I should and shouldn’t be doing but when it comes to myself I think I used to think I was invincible. As a result I picked up some ridiculous and totally preventable injuries. On a positive note, this has helped me become more knowledgeable as a Physiotherapist about what works and what doesn’t for certain running injuries as I’ve experienced a lot of them. I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve learnt over the years on here soon.
So my advice is, if you feel tired or you have another cold or you seem to have lots of niggles, your body may be telling you “you are doing too much”. The miles you are putting into your training maybe wasted miles causing more harm than good. So rest, make the most of that resting period to optimise your training and gain the benefits.