Maybe it’s the two days of rain we had this week. Maybe I am tired. Or maybe I am burnt out. But this week, I have not been excited to run.
I think my body was telling me something on Wednesday when I woke up feeling light headed and ended up blacking out a few times. I thought all I needed was some breakfast to get my blood sugar up but even oatmeal didn’t do the trick. I dropped Addy off at school, still wasn’t feeling “right” and called in sick to work (I hate doing that). I ended up sleeping for 8 hours Wednesday! Obviously my body needed it.
I don’t think I have had too much on my to-do list lately but maybe I have had just enough that my body needed a day off. So this week, I took a break from running as well, and I am not worried about the fact that I am running a marathon in 17 days. When we train for any type of endurance event, obviously our main focus is on getting the training miles in. After all, we need to be prepared to run long distances! Every training plan I have read emphasizes that rest days are crucial.
For new runners, 2-3 rest days during the week are highly recommended. Experienced runners can get by with one rest day. Rest days give your muscles the opportunity to repair the small tears that occur during training. It gives your bones the opportunity to rebuild and become stronger.
Failing to take adequate rest can result in overtraining or overuse injuries. Symptoms of overtraining include a raise in resting heart, loss of enthusiasm to run, tired feeling legs, and lethargy. It can also result in a lowered immune system, slight weight gain (from inflammation), and burnout. Overuse injuries are the result of repeated mico-trauma to bones and muscle. When you rest, your body is able to repair that trauma. Without rest, the micro-traumas become major problems! This can also happen by going too hard too soon, not listening to your body, training errors that build up over time such as can be seen from inappropriate footwear, and uncorrected biomechanical issues.
A rest day can be a day where you lounge around and do absolutely nothing. Or it can be an “active rest” day where maybe you go for a leisurely walk or bike ride or take a yoga class. If you start feeling the results of overtraining, listen to your body and take the day off. Rest is going to happen whether you like it or not. Fail to provide your body with adequate rest and it will force you to rest at some point!
Perhaps me listening to my body will allow me to do better in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon because my body will be better rested.