Running Tips: Take the Day Off

One thing that’s very important for runners but that is often forgotten about is rest.

Many runners run seven days a week and run hard seven days a week. The human body, though, is set up to need rest, and a schedule of hard running every day will soon wear it down.

When I began running, I would hit it hard every single day until I met a trainer at my local gym who gave me some sound advice. He told me never to do anything seven days a week. In fact, the ideal is to train hard one day followed by a less-hard day (alternate one day on and one day less on) and always take one day off every week. Keep doing this and your body never has time to get bored.

So, if this is the case, why do so many runners train too much? The phrase “work hard, play hard” has become synonymous with success, and people tend to carry it over to every element of their life, including their workout routine.A body that is pushed to its limit all the time will soon rebel. Boredom will set in, injuries will happen and soon you won’t be running at all due to injuries.

The ideal schedule for a runner is to train hard three days a week. Push yourself to your limit. Then, on three other days, continue to train at a slower pace than on your hard days. Then relax one day a week. Go to the movies or to the beach, have dinner with your friends, be a couch potato. Literally do anything….. but go running. One thing I do on none-running days is get a massage. This relaxes me, works out the kinks in my body and sets me on course for another three days of hard training.

Whatever you do though, make your off-days fun and your on-days work. After a few weeks of this regimen, you’ll find you enjoy running more, you’ll get more out of your hard workouts but your body won’t be wiped out all the time.