The Importance of Rest Days When Running

Jun 16, 2023

For some runners, it feels like a dirty word (or two words)  REST DAYS! 

Many of us have been there.  We get caught up in our training and we firmly believe that less is more. But that isn't actually the case.  Taking a break is as important as pounding the pavements, pushing our limits, and clocking in those miles. So, let's dive in and explore why it's not only okay but also beneficial to take rest days from running.

The Importance of Recovery

Rest days are essential for proper recovery. When you do high-impact activities like running, your muscles are under stress and micro-tears occur. By taking rest days. you will allow these muscles to repair and rebuild, ultimately making you stronger. By taking time to rest, you give your body the chance to replenish energy stores, reduce inflammation, and prevent injuries caused by overuse.

Mental Refreshment

You have probably come to realise that running is a mental game as well as a physical one. It's easy to get caught up in the daily grind of training, obsessing over mileage and personal bests. However, rest days also give us some mental refreshment and a break from the relentless pursuit of progress and running greatness! This can easily become too much as we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves - the joy of running starts to become lost. Taking time away can rekindle your passion for running, reduce burnout, and help you maintain a healthy perspective.

Injury Prevention

Nothing stops a runner faster than an injury. Overtraining and pushing yourself too hard without enough rest can lead to stress fractures, muscle strains, and other overuse injuries. By incorporating regular rest days into your training plan, you give your body the chance to heal, strengthen, and prevent the accumulation of excessive wear and tear. Remember, injury prevention is key to long-term running success and consistency. 

Performance Improvement

Rest days might seem counterintuitive, but they play a vital role in enhancing your overall running performance. When you allow your body to rest, it adapts to the stress you've placed on it during training. This process leads to improvements in strength, speed, and endurance. By planning rest days, you set yourself up for better performance gains during your training runs.

Balance and Well-being

You can have too much of a good thing. And while running is undoubtedly a great way to stay fit and active,  it shouldn't consume your entire life. It's crucial to balance running with other aspects of your life, such as family, work, and hobbies. Rest days give you the opportunity to do other things like spending time with family, travel, other hobbies, or simply enjoy some downtime. Embrace the rest days - it makes for healthier overall well-being and prevents running from becoming an all-consuming obsession.

So, as much as we love the euphoria of the runner's high and the satisfaction of accomplishing our goals, let's not forget the value of rest days. Ensuring you take regular breaks in your training plan is essential for recovery, injury prevention, mental well-being, and long-term performance improvement.

Remember, rest days are a sign of self-care and your desire to become a stronger runner - in body and mind.  So, go ahead, put your feet up, and embrace the power of rest days!

Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Happy running and resting!


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