How It Could Affect Your Physical Performance
If there is one quality that all runners have in common, it is dedication. And while everyone has a different idea of what it means to “be a dedicated” in their training, it’s easy to push things to the limit by skimping on days off, especially now when sports apps make it easier than ever to compare your training with that of others.
It’s easy to think that going out every day, even if it’s to do a few miles, makes you stronger and faster in the long run. But is this “no days off” mentality doing you more harm than good? Bring it up. To do this, Runner’s World has spoken with Dr Angela Fifer and member of the executive board of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology, and with Janet Hamilton, owner of the company Running Strong, to find out.
There are multiple reasons why people may adhere to the “no days off” philosophy, says Fifer. On the one hand, some runners find it easier to keep up with running and other types of exercise to make it a daily habit. But some are generally competitive not only with others but also with themselves. “Our competitive nature sometimes overrides our logic and reason when we seek our next best time to cross a race finish line or achieve a new distance,” says Fifer.
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Is it okay to run every day?
Hamilton adds that others run every day to calm their nerves, provide moments of clarity, or help them combat anxiety or depression in their daily lives. But is it okay to run every day? According to Fifer, some people can train every day, and others find it challenging to return to the gym or go for a run after a day off.
But it would help if you had time to recover mentally, so taking a day off can help your body and mind rest. If we don’t let the body heal, there is a possibility that it will be injured, warns Fifer. While Hamilton adds that it can even be beneficial for our physique since it can remain strengthened. “Physiologically, the body becomes stronger if it has the opportunity to respond,” he says. “In other words, periods of overload, followed by periods of recovery, are the best option for improvement for most people.”
It is because the body goes through a process called adaptation. According to Hamilton, physiological changes occur at the cellular level, such as the production of more mitochondria and blood vessels and more blood and more muscular muscle fibres. However, your body can’t do all this if you don’t give it a chance to get enough rest, he says. However, the “appropriate” amount of time varies from person to person.
“Some athletes may do a brief and easy run on their recovery days. Others find that an actual rest day is better for them. And still, others may see that they respond better if they do another sporting activity that is not as stressful as running, such as maybe walk or nothing, “says Hamilton.
“However, a large part of runners find that they manage to do good races if they respect the training process and the physiological demands that remain imposed. Sleeping is part of training. Rest is part of training. If you want to be the best, you must provide both stress (overload) and rest (recovery),” he advises.
Both psychological and physiological signs warn you that you need a day (or more) off. According to Fifer, the number one sign is if you don’t feel motivated to tackle your runs and workouts or if you’re not enjoying them. “If running is something you love and you start to notice that it’s a drag, try taking a day or two and doing something different,” he advises. “Taking a couple of days can help recharge you.”
Physically, there are vital signs that you need to pay attention to, Such as regular sleep disturbances, a high heart rate in the morning, the inability to fight a cold, a feeling of generalized fatigue. Loss of appetite, a sense of stiffness or general pain or discomfort in a localized area, and that feeling. It is becoming increasingly tricky aimed at you to maintain your normal training rhythm. “I like to tell my athletes: ‘Listen to the whispers of your body.’ That means that if you do and respect them, they will help you avoid certain injuries.”
The Bottom Line
Taking a day or more off can help you improve your pace and get over more miles. “The constant thinking and pressure we put on ourselves to exceed our goals are exhausting,” says Fifer. “While our goals are significant. It is also important not to forget that there are other important things in life that also matter.”
Fifer also notes that even elite athletes take their days off. “Staying consistent in training and competing is important,” he says. “And sometimes it’s a willingness to rest will help us take the next step toward our goals. Later a day or two of rest. We can feel much better as we remain even. More aligned with our goals and ready to continue training hard to achieve them.
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