5 Signs You Need to Rest


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!


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


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.

22 thoughts on “5 Signs You Need to Rest

  1. I’m the worst person to ask about Rest.

    I don’t usually rest unless I can’t run.

    But work and family and friends do put rest into my schedule.

    I don’t worry about paces and distances so that helps with not pushing myself.

    As you have said. Everyone is different. We all need different amounts of rest.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    I used to only get migraines on weekends and vacations. It’s like my body knew I could not get sick on a workday.

    Is it a coincidence that you have been sick in your off season?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you don’t always have to answer the questions. It’s ok. I don’t always if I have nothing to say on the subject.

      I’ve been sick during a training cycle on more than one occasion. OTOH, I’ve never had a migraine — for which I am very thankful!


    1. I never feel guilty about my rest days. It’s when I have to take extra ones — it still doesn’t make me feel guilty — it can just give me anxiety if it messes with my training. Which at the moment it isn’t (although of course ultimately, it might be. It is what it is).


    1. I’ve never hated rest days. It seems as though runners seem to fall into 2 camps: the restless ones that are never happy unless they’re moving, or the slothful ones that take up running to keep themselves moving.

      An oversimplification, of course, but sometimes it feels that way. 🙂


  2. I’m definitely one that can keep pushing until it’s too late and then I’m stuck with a few extra rest days I didn’t plan on. I try to pay attention to how my body feels – much like DOMS but just general overall soreness and lethargy. Or I’ll get really cranky. That’s usually a pretty decent sign that I’m doing too much. Watch out – angry redhead! haha

    Definitely enjoying the longer days. I can (try to) get out earlier and not have to wear all the reflective gear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am pretty much never out there early. I used to . . . I guess that was before I got older & had older animals. I like a quiet morning and I’m pretty sure my getting out there would make Bandit anxious.

      Which is fine, because even on warm days up here, the mornings are still pretty cool.

      I think most of the time I’m pretty in tune with my body — but sometimes things are just gonna happen, I guess.


  3. I’ve gotten a lot better about rest since my diagnosis with RA. I push hard on the day after my meds but in the afternoon, I’m on the couch most of the day. I take 2 rest days during the week too because those days I start work at 8. I think it’s really a good balance and keeps me from overdoing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I needed to read this today… thanks! I’ve been having a hard time motivating this week and have been feeling “off” so I haven’t hit my scheduled workouts. I’m going to back off the guilt and give myself a little grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that you’re listening to your body. I see so many people that don’t, and then pay the price.

      Most of the time I’m pretty good about it, but sometimes it is hard not to push, so I get it.


  5. I am good about taking rest days – my body sends pretty clear signals when I need one. Plus, life is so crazy with two jobs and two kids that somedays they just happen because I don’t have time.

    Liked by 1 person

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