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:
- Injuries can be dealt with and given the right amount of rest and treatment
- It can cure a runners burnout
- Mentally you will be recharged and more excited to run again
- It will help you refocus your goals.
- 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.