Rest isn’t a four letter word — rest is where you get fitter (and you can read more about its importance here). Some people seem to have an innate sense of when it’s the right time for them to take a little more rest. And some of us keep pushing until we’re sick or injured.
Sometimes I know when to take a break — but sometimes, it seems, I don’t — my type A personality (when it comes to running, anyway) rears its ugly head and I push through on days I probably shouldn’t.
If you’re not one of those lucky people who instinctively knows when to rest more, how do you tell if it’s time for some extra rest? The truth is that the signs can be subtle and often not easily measurable. Which is why you need to pay attention!
So read on, but keep in mind I’m not a coach, medical professional, yadda yadda yadda.
Your runs are getting slower
If suddenly you find that you’re really struggling to hit paces that once seemed easy — and it’s not just an off day — it’s time to sit up and take note.
We all have bad runs, but if it’s the norm and not the exception, you probably need to rest more.
You’re having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
We all have times when we have trouble sleeping. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and this is not normal for you (or even if it is!), you may need to take some extra rest. Ditto if you suddenly find yourself sleeping much longer than is normal for you.
You’re sleeping well but you still feel exhausted
We’re supposed to wake up feeling refreshed when we’ve had a good night’s sleep, right? Much like running, it’s not abnormal to occasionally get a good night’s sleep and still feel tired in the morning, but if it happens all the time, you could be pushing yourself too hard.
Your RHR (Resting Heart Rate) is elevated
I wrote about RHR in “Are you really recovered?” (read it here). It’s something that’s tangible and measurable. I’m still tracking RHR; normally I find it’s a really good indicator of whether or not I’m really recovered. The biggest problem with a lot of indicators for recovery is that by the time they’re elevated, you may already have pushed too hard.
I’ve been sick for basically the first half of February, and this is one time my RHR didn’t get elevated . . . until I was sick. However, by my birthday I was feeling better. The next morning my RHR had shot way up again, and sure enough, the virus is not done toying with me yet.
You’re sore . . . days after your last run
If you strength train, you’re probably familiar with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). You know, you work out fine, and two days later you’re so sore you can barely move.
If you’re just always sore, then you may be pushing yourself too hard and not taking enough rest.
The bottom line is to pay attention to what your body’s telling you.
I do want to write a post with some ways to actually track how well you’re recovering, but next week I’ll be back to grade February. That shouldn’t take too long!
What tells you that you need some extra rest?
Do you feel good . . . until you don’t?
Enjoying the longer days? I know I am! And the sometimes mild weather.