A character attribute that we find common in runners is dedication. It has been seen that a runner’s mental strength to run is always more than the limits of the body. Hence many runners take things a little too far and consider running every day without a rest day. The reason can be a target in mind, trying to make a streak, or a social media comparison of the performance.
Some think that running every day and more makes you stronger and faster. However, this may not be the case for most of the runners. Human’s basic nature of being competitive overrides logic and reasoning leading us to take bad decisions which may hurt our goal.
Few runners claim that they run to calm their nerves and mental peace. We need to listen to our body’s calls though!
Is running every day okay?
Some people say that if they take a day off, they find it difficult to get the rhythm back. However, not just physically but mentally too we need a day off. We need to recover both mentally and physically. Taking things easy between a training program makes us stronger and better.
Our body is attuned to respond to the stimulus. Hence our training which is a type of stimulus allows our body to respond and improve. However, our system is made to adapt. So the effect of loading reduces as the body adapts to the training program. Hence periods of overload followed by rest or recovery period ensure best for our body and mind.
Some athletes consider rest or recovery days as a period of easy run or light exercise. Others prefer a complete rest. So completely depends on a person’s training program, goals, age, level, etc. Hence when you choose the recovery period, you must pick that recovery program wisely.
Advice to streak runners
There are a lot of runners who want to run every day. The reason can be streaking, internal motivation, or any other. Those runners must mix their days with super hard and super easy. Keeping a balance between injuries, energy levels, and performance, the number of easy days can be more than once a week.
Another way to make a different workout day. This means if you are doing running every day, you can have other workouts on an easy day. However, you must not put yourself under the same hard work. Remember it is an easy day, so choose to work out accordingly.
It has been seen that those who respect physiological demands and mix training by stress (overload) and rest (recovery) days perform better on race day.
Body’s signal asking for a rest day
The body gives you both psychological and physiological signs asking you to take a day off or ease out.
Mental feedback is if you do not feel motivated to run and you are not enjoying running. If running is your love and you find that getting to it becomes a drag, then take a day or even two days off.
Physically there a many signs which will tell you back off a bit. Signs like disturbed sleep, higher morning heart rate, getting frequent cold, always feeling fatigued, loss of appetite, having sore muscles, and not able to maintain your normal training pace are the few most frequently observed in runners.
A runner must listen to the body’s call and respect them. Your answer can simply allow the body to recover. That will improve performance, avoid injury and keep yourself motivated enough to reach your goal.
Runner’s take-home advice
You must take a day off as it gives you the most needed break from pressures like pace, distance PRs and much more. While our goals are important, we need to recognize that life has much more. There are other great things in life too which matter.
Keeping correct perspective while training enables to take right steps towards overall development. You might feel so much better and fresh after a break day. However, there is no one answer to everyone. You have to find a routine best for you.
Some people relieve their anxiety while running. Others manage depression or stiffness through the workouts. Thus running every day may have a different goal. Hence, respecting that as well as the body’s call one needs to plan the recovery schedule.
Article by: Jitender Harjai Life and Fitness Coach H2F Care