Why Rest Matters…


By Gina Shell

It doesn’t matter if you are a recreational runner or regularly training, there is a definite need for at least one day off each week. Your selected day off gives your body time to undergo biological processes and hormone cycles to rebuild itself. Days off also help strengthen your body, your focus sharpens, and they give you a chance to rebuild your spirit so you actually want to keep running. Running breaks your body down. It also builds stamina and strength. Allowing time off makes it possible for you to be better next week and next race. Time off allows your muscles to bounce back, avoids stress fractures, gives your brain time to chill, and protects tight tendons.

When training for that “big” race, one day off won’t hurt you at all. If you have done all the training necessary, your body is ready to compete. I know most runners don’t have “rest day” in their vocabulary. I used to be one of them. But, as we get older, our body takes more time to recover. If you want your body to be able to train a long time, a rest day is needed. As we get older, maybe two days are necessary (depending on the intensity and mileage each week).

Runner’s World suggests three questions to ask yourself if you are not sure about taking a day off. They are: 1. Did my last few runs feel harder than usual? ; 2. Do I feel less motivated to run today? ; and 3. Does running feel more like a chore than something I enjoy? Answering yes to just one of these questions suggests you should consider more rest.

So on a side note from me and the Fayette Striders: in 1896 the YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot was founded (which is the oldest). We have our own Turkey Trot in Uniontown on Thanksgiving morning at 9 am. Also, the Striders have our annual Year End Clearance 5K on December 31st at 9 am. Applications are available at the YMCA. Happy running…….