Rest done right

Rest days are crucial to your recovery and will directly impact your performance when it comes to achieving your desired results. When should you rest? How often should you rest? What about active rest days? Read on to learn more about doing rest days right.

Rest days are key for runners, they are the foundation of your recovery. The harder you train, the more important rest days become. Rest days not only help to prevent injury and allow your body to adapt to training stimulus, they are important for your mental health as well, helping you to keep your mind fresh and avoid training-related burnout. Rest days help to make you a stronger, faster, goal-achieving runner. 

How often should you rest?

Depending on your training plan, you should be scheduling between one and three days per week of complete rest or active rest into your training plan. Performance runners should aim to take at least one full day of complete rest per week.

What is active rest?

On an active rest day you are still moving and participating in a fitness activity, however you’re allowing your running muscles a bit of rest. On an active rest day you can work on things like strength or mobility, or you can take part in light activity such as yoga, pilates or a long walk. Your active rest days should help your training, not hurt it.

Three signs you should take a day off from running

1. You’re always tired or your sleep is of poor quality

If you’re always tired or you feel as though your sleep may be suffering, you could be overtraining or not fueling your body properly. Performance plateaus (when progress levels out), mental clarity and your mood can all be impacted by sleep. Quality sleep is the foundation of a proper recovery plan. Eight hours of sleep a day should be your goal. If overtraining is the culprit of your sleep woes, it’s time to take a few more rest days.

2. You’re still sore after a few days

If you’re always achy and dread taking the stairs, this could mean that you aren’t resting long enough between your runs. Try scheduling a few more rest days into your monthly training schedule and see if that improves things. If prolonged muscle soreness is something that does reoccur, you may want to evaluate your post-run recovery plan, or seek the advice of a health professional. 

3. You’re sick

Going for a run and putting extra stress on your body when you’re sick, is going to result in it taking even longer for you to recover from the illness that your immune system is fighting. It’s a much better idea to rest until you’re healthy. Your training will benefit much more if you wait to run until you feel better and can put in a good effort, than if you struggle through and phone in your training because you don’t feel well.  

When you’re training for an event like Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, you are putting in the work and pushing hard to get results. However, if you don’t prioritize rest and recovery, you risk injury or burn out due to over-training. Your running will benefit by allowing your body to rest and recover, helping to bring your goals within reach.