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Take a Hiatus from Running

Taking a hiatus from running can seem tough but it might be the best thing you can do for yourself, writes Nandini Reddy. 

Runners tend to get consumed by their passion. The frustration from not reaching peak performance can cause a runner to train in an extreme manner that might lead to injury. Instead if you ever feel that you are slipping then it might make more sense to take a break from running. While this suggestion might sound counter-intuitive to a runner in training, it is probably the best thing you can do for yourself.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking a break from running.

When should you take a break? – Once racing season is done, plan at least a 4 week break. Your body needs to rest from the constant pounding it has received during the marathons. Also there is less guilt about missing a big race. Pick you racing season for the year and once it wraps up, ensure that you put away your running shoes. It is also a good idea to take a break when running becomes too monotonous for you. Running without enthusiasm won’t lift your spirits and the break will do more good for your mood than running would at that time.

How long should your hiatus last? – Remember that muscles tend to recover during the break period. You can stay fit by doing other activities like strength training and yoga which are beneficial to build muscle strength. Ensure you take a minimum of 4 weeks off. You can extend this to more if required but don’t reduce the amount to lesser than 3 weeks if you want to enjoy the full benefits of recovery.

Most runners feel that a break from training means they will run lesser miles or that it will affect their pace. But in reality a run after a period of recovery is stronger than one where there is no proper recovery for the body. A few of the benefits of taking a hiatus include:

  1. Injuries can be dealt with and given the right amount of rest and treatment
  2. It can cure a runners burnout
  3. Mentally you will be recharged and more excited to run again
  4. It will help you refocus your goals.
  5. Work out a training plan based on experience and with a clear mind

Once you are back in training, don’t stress on pace and mileage immediately. Build up to it and you will notice that you can reach your goals faster and with less fatigue.

By no means am I suggesting that taking a break would be a joyful experience for a runner, but if you want to keep running strong for many years then it is inevitable. When you take a break you come back with a stronger performance, a more fit body and higher enthusiasm.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Rest & Recovery during Marathon Training

Runners need to understand the need to rest and recover between training runs. Nandini Reddy talks about the need to rest to avoid injury and over-training syndrome.

There are many different kinds of runners. Everyone has their own schedule of training for marathons. But while most experienced runners do understand the importance of recovery and rest, many of them need to be forced to rest as they tend to be over-enthusiastic to keep training without a break.

Scheduling Rest

When charting out a training plan it is important to have rest days, recovery days, light workout days and heavy workout days. This will help take care of several issues that most runners face including fatigue and injury. Rest should be a scheduled day in a week. Regular and healthy runners need just one day rest in order to recover. New runners might need extra time to recover as their body gets acquainted to the stress of running. Recovery days are different from rest days. Rest days mean doing absolutely no physical workout. Recovery days are days we do alternative workouts that will help stretch and relax the muscles that we have been working. They can include activities like swimming, yoga, static stretches or even a leisure cycle ride. Strength training cannot be counted as recovery day as it required immense effort and does strain the body. But it can be part of your heavy workout day schedule once a week at least.

Refueling on Rest Days

Nutrition is a huge part of training for a marathon. It generally get overlooked by amateur and professional athletes but it should be part of your training plan. Nutrition plays an important role in helping muscles recover faster. Recovery and rest days try an reduce the amount of carbs you have and go for more light meals with fresh food like salads and soups. Hydrate well on rest days also. Don’t leave hydration only for running days. On those days increase your hydration but make it a habit to hydrate well on rest and recovery days as well.

Ice is your friend

Muscle soreness can be recovered to a large extent with ice packs and cold compress treatments. Running can cause inflammation your joints such as ankles, knees, hips and feet. Using ice packs helps in reducing the inflammation and helps in faster recovery.

Massages can be effective

Pro-athletes and newbies all support that massages are a good way to recover. On your rest day you can plan a massage if you are feel you are not able to adequately recover with other methods of rest. There are special muscle relieving massages and it is important to brief your therapist about your reason for it to be more effective.

Following such simple plans can make a huge difference to your endurance as a runner. Whether you choose all or a few rest and recovery methods, you are likely to see the difference. These small changes will have a big effect on your running performance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

Read more