After I ran my 20th race of the year, I was feeling just a little burned out. I had been training and racing for months. After a fall of racing a 10k, a ten miler, two half marathons and two full marathons, I was ready for a break. I decided on my spring goal race, and then figured out that I could take a few weeks to rest and recovery before starting a new three-month training cycle. I think taking a short period of rest was the best thing I could do for my running. Here are a few reasons why:
- Your body needs it. After racing for months, my body was ready for some rest. Although I didn’t run much during my break, I was physically active. I took Pure Barre classes, did some yoga videos and walked a LOT. I did also run a little, but without my watch and strictly for fun. But during this time, my legs appreciated the break from pounding the pavement.
- Your mind needs it. More importantly to me, my mind was ready for a break from training hard and racing. Even though I ran a number of my races for fun and didn’t feel pressure, I always experience nerves when race day comes along. That is a bit stressful. Having a time where I wasn’t running according to a plan was good for my mind. I felt relaxed. Running was truly stress free.
- It’s a great time to set goals and plan. While I wasn’t focused on training or getting ready for a race, I could sit down and think about what running goals I wanted to accomplish during 2016. I’ve already identified a spring goal race and have some solid ideas about a fall goal race as well. Having the time and energy to think strategically about races is clutch. Typically once I start racing, I’m prone to sign up for everything (hence 20 races this year). That is fine, but being able to set which races are really important and which will be run for fun in advance helps me with my mindset towards training.
Have you ever taken a purposeful running break where you either didn’t run or ran less? How did that go?