1 Reason I Took a Running Break

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When should you take a break from running? I do think it does a body good once in a while. Any repetitive activity leaves you open to injury. Switching it up and giving your body a break is one way to stay injury free.

Fairytales and Fitness

Pay attention to your RHR (resting heart rate)
The line between pushing yourself and injuring yourself or burning out is so thin it’s almost invisible. This decision was easy for me, because I made it a while ago. Better to be proactive than reactive — I always tell Mr. Judy that about walking the dogs!

When it came time to actually take that break, I had already noticed an upward tick in my RHR. As far as I can deduce, Garmin averages your RHR throughout the day. So sometimes it will autocorrect the lower value a day or two later for me, when I’ve synced that day. That just means that much like a false positive test, sometimes a high RHR turns out to be a bit lower.

In my case, even allowing for time, there was a steady uptick. I actually started my running break a few days earlier than I’d planned to. I felt okay, but my body seemed to be indicating that I wasn’t recovering well. I am not a slave to data — but it’s one hint when something is coming off the rails.

In normal times, if I’d been training for a race or racing a lot as I often do in the Fall, I might have just pushed through it. Sometimes not having running goals can actually be a good thing!

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What I gained
I gained time. Running is time consuming. Making sure I fuel right, have my outfit laid out, making sure I have hydration, foam rolling, pre- and post-stretching: it all adds up. I used that time to walk more. Fall is the perfect time in the Northeast to explore and get out in nature.

Walking more allowed me to slow down. Slowing down allowed me to be more observant to everything around me. We see more on the run than we do driving in a car, right? You also see a lot more walking than you do running.

My RHR came back down into its normal range.

Final Thoughts
You may be able to run hard and many miles without taking breaks. As I wrote in You are an experiment of 1 here, every body is different. As I’ve so often mentioned, even elites take breaks from running. Sometimes long breaks. Yes, running is their job — but they are still wise enough to know that recovery is also their job.

Recovery may not be our job, but being kind to our body is.

Still struggling with whether or not it’s time for a break? Check out Embrace the Taper here for a list of my many posts on rest and recovery.

Are you afraid of losing running fitness if you stop running?

When was the last time you voluntarily took a break from running?

When was the last time you were forced to take a break from running due to illness or injury?

17 thoughts on “1 Reason I Took a Running Break

  1. I think taking a complete running break of 2-4 weeks is a good idea, Judy.
    I have ultrarunning friends who do that regularly.

    I had to take July and August off due to injury and now I feel refreshed to start again. My RHR is at 46, which for me is quite low. If it would increase consistently, I would definitely take a longer break.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a running break of a month unless I was sick.

      My RHR can definitely vary, I just try & keep my eye on the trend. This time it got higher than I think it ever had before, so I paid attention — but I’d decided to take the break long before that happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a slave to data. In fact I have no idea what my RHR is.

    As you said, everyone is different. If you need a rest, you have to take it.

    I have NEVER taken a rest from running unless I have an injury.

    But I don’t find that it takes up anymore time than walking or hiking. I just get up and go for the most part. My runs this summer in fact were slower than many person’s walks.

    But I do feel if I run fewer miles or less often, I will lose fitness and more importantly mojo.

    I would run more if I didn’t work so maybe it’s good thing that I do for now lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am the opposite — I never stop running for long, but sometimes I just need a break. We’re all different.

      My Garmin is also my fitness tracker, so it just tracks my HR 24/7. I just need to look at it, and it’s valuable info for anyone — whether or not they even exercise.

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  3. I hope you comer back to running with a renewed vigor! I’ve been forced to take breaks from running the last few years due to my cranky back so it’s been a while since I’ve done a voluntary break of longer than a week (like when we were in Utah the last two summers hiking).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am going to have to play around with my Garmin. I don’t know how to make it tell my resting heart rate. I am glad to read that you came back to running. When I was injured a few years ago, all I wanted was to be able to run. It was a forced break that I hated. I think you are right, though – you should listen to your heart. We are all an experiment of 1.

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  5. As you know, I’m coming (slowly) off of my second forced break. It’s more frustrating having the break “forced” on me than taking the actual break itself…if that makes any sense. It’s been a nice reprieve, though. I’m grateful it came towards the end of summer (and not smack dab in the middle of it, like in 2017). It also helped, A LOT, that there weren’t any live races I was missing while sidelined. When I had my other running break, my love for walking was rejuvenated, and that’s something I really did miss this time around. But, this time, I had my trusty Gustavas… so, all was well 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, having to take a break as opposed to choosing to take a break is a VERY big difference!

      Not being able to walk at all would be a huge issue. Especially since our living area is on the second floor, but the dogs need to go outside on the first floor.

      Thank goodness you’re cleared to walk, Kim! And at such a great time of year too. 🙂

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  6. I agree, running is SO time consuming, especially when you work a full time job like I do. As you know, I’ve really cut back on running and pretty much only do it on the weekends now. I have never tracked my RHR, but maybe it is something I should do, as I know that I have lost lots of running fitness over the years.
    Thanks for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ve probably got enough to keep track of already, Meranda! I’m sure you’ve lost some running fitness, but the truth is, if you want it, running is always there. And the hiking keeps you in good shape, too. 🙂

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  7. I keep an eye on my heart rate and cut back if it’s raised – I’m usually getting poorly. But if I know it’s because I’m particularly stressed, I will still make time for running. I agree that not having races makes it much easier to cut back and I certainly prioritised a lie-in over a run the other morning!

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