Benefits in taking a break

26 November 2021

Have you ever eased back on your running …. on purpose?

I’m not talking about a break forced by injury or the week you took off after a big run. I’m talking about deliberate rest built into your training schedule, that is anywhere from two to four weeks in duration. A time when you rest a little more, run a little less and shift your focus.

For a lot of runners the thought of taking a break is paralyzing.
What if I lose fitness, or gain weight?
Deliberate time off from running is a great way to give your body and mind a break and in the long run, it can actually set you up for better performances down the road. The best time for an off-season really depends on your goal races, but it’s best to add a few down weeks between big training cycles and for many runners that’s during the winter months when the days are short and the temps are cold.


Mental and Physical Break

If you’ve spent the winter training, chances are your mind and body need a break. Block off two weeks on your calendar to scale it back, add in an extra rest day or change the intensity of runs. Without a deliberate break, burnout and overtraining can be real issues you may have to contend with down the road.
The off season is the perfect opportunity to try new activities to engage yourself in new ways mentally and physically. Take a new class, go for a hike or get out on the bike.

Avoid Injury

Taking an extended break from running allows your body to repair areas of chronic tightness that could potentially become injuries. Spend the time you would normally be running by hitting the weights at the gym. Focus on moves that increase power like deadlifts and squats. In addition, work on balance and stability with single leg and lateral movements. The combination or rest from running and increased strength training is a great way to avoid injury in-season.

Stretching & Yoga

Focus on Recovery

If you’re like most people you are busy and if you’re training for something specific, the little things like stretching, foam rolling and sleep often gets squeezed out. As you cut back on your running duration and intensity, consider replacing that time with self-massage, dynamic stretching and maintenance work.