Yes, it’s spring and arguably one of the best times of year to run outdoors, but if you need a mental and physical break, now is also a great time to take one. A restorative running break for your mind and body is especially important if you just ran the Boston Marathon.
You know all the things you had to deny yourself while you were training for months on end toward your big goal? Now is the time to indulge. Instead of thinking of your running break as having to say “no” to running, shift your thoughts to saying “yes” to everything else. Yoga? Yes, please! Stand-up paddleboarding outing? Sure! Want to try out that new CrossFit Gym? I would love to! Who knows—you may come back stronger than ever when you return to your favorite sport.
Most runners let cross-training fall by the wayside when gunning for a big training goal. The fact is, lifting weights and working on your core and posture muscles now will pay off in longer, stronger running in the future. Taking a break from running is the perfect time to pick up a training routine and focus on the muscles that will keep you running for a lifetime.
Follow The Leaders
Most all elites take a few days (if not weeks) completely off from running after a hard training cycle that culminates in a big race, no matter the result. Thinking you should immediately start training for another goal because this one did not go as planned is a recipe for a disastrous second race. By allowing your mind and body the time each needs to heal, you will be ready to face another hard training cycle and shoot for another big goal.
After a vigorous training cycle culminating in a hard race (especially if the weather was as horrific as it was during this year’s Boston Marathon!), your immune system needs time to reboot. Taking a running break lasting days or weeks will decrease your chances of contracting an illness or suffering an injury.
The big picture of running breaks should look something like this:
Weekly: At least one day of rest per week.
Monthly: Cut back during weeks where you decrease your training mileage significantly.
Yearly: One to three weeks after every hard training cycle, or more if you like.
Remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and you may surprise yourself by coming back to running stronger than ever—both mentally and physically—with renewed motivation!