Why you need to rest during race training and what to do on rest days
Training for race day is hard work, mentally and physically. We all need a day off and here’s why:
Norton Sports Health
You don’t have to be an elite athlete to get quality sports medicine care.
- Your body needs time to repair. When you exercise, you put strain on your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. If your body doesn’t get a break from continual work, especially when it’s repetitive, it doesn’t have time to repair. Rest days give your body the time it needs to recuperate.
- Risk for injury increases without rest. Running puts stress on your joints and lower extremities. When you don’t take at least a few days off per week, tight muscles or tendons can lead to shin splints, muscle tears, overuse injuries and more.
- Rest at your own rate. What you do on rest days depends on how fit you are. If you’re training for your first race, your rest day should be no exercise at all. A more seasoned athlete can do light exercise on a rest day.
Nutrition also is an important consideration with rest days. Cut down on carbohydrates on days when you do light or no exercise. Stick to your nutrition plan, but make it a light day. This will be different for everyone, so listen to your body. Remember to eat well, eat right, eat on time and drink plenty of water.
Use your day of rest to reflect on the progress you’ve made and celebrate your dedication.