Rest and recovery – a runners worst nightmare or a blessing in disguise?
The real importance of ‘downtime’
Its been a while since you last heard from me but I have finally been taking things slower, having a little downtime from any focused training and home life has taken a priority. For a runner when you put all your efforts into training for a race you want to compete and finish and have that after glow and runners high of that new achievement. Not reaching the start line for my planned ultra marathon in March was a massive disappointment for me so I decided to take a good few months off any ‘real’ training for ‘me’.
It’s been hard, putting my training on hold counter-productive after all the hard work I had put into training for the Green Man Ultra. I wanted to capitalize on my fitness levels and continue running, set a new goal, chase a new personal best. The last thing I really wanted to do after my disappointment is rest, I wanted to get back out there and prove I could do it, I wanted to race !
Most of us ‘runners’ hate missing one session, we ponder how much that missed session will affect us, we have thoughts such as ‘we’ve blown it’ , we think and honestly believe that by missing that one session the months of hard work will vanish into thin air and we will be back to where we were a few months back. This is obviously NOT the case and we do know that deep down.
The most common mistake runners make is not resting ENOUGH, especially after a big race or long training segment. This can lead to a plateaux in training and in terms of racing seeing our personal best slip out of our reach.
Resting for 7-10 days has little impact on current fitness and actually long term goals become more achievable.
Likewise having some downtime out from racing and in a heavy ‘training’ cycle can lead to massive benefits in future training and races.
The key point here is to allow some time to rest and recover properly after a big race, then keep some running in your legs during downtime (without increasing distance or any focus on speed). This will creative a cumulative training affect without causing stress to the body.
The result ? When you next start training for another ‘big’ event you will be stronger at the start, more focused and will build on all the goodness you had in your body at the end of the last race.
I have just started my training for my next series of challenges, I have to say I currently feel fresh, focused and ready to smash it, my challenge is keeping my body fat % at healthy levels, my immune in check and nailing my nutrition strategy.
Now here’s a big thumbs up to rest and recovery and reaching new goals!