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May 19, 2020

Sometimes a cliche is just a tired and hackneyed expression and other times it's a nugget of wisdom. The old coaches favourite of it's not how hard you train but how hard you recover is one of those nugget cliches.

Deep down we all know that recovery is important, that's why we try to get lots of sleep and eat our veggies. But with many of us either working from home or furloughed and with very all other outside distractions off the table. It can be very easy to overlook one very important aspect of recovery - The Rest Day. 

Here are four fantastic reasons not to go out running. 

1. Give your muscles time to repair themselves.

The reason you get stronger from exercise is that you cause tiny microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, which your body smartly tries to stop happening in future by not only repairing those tears but adding a little extra muscle in for good measure.

But that can only happen if you give your body ample time to recover, without that recovery time, your body has no opportunity to rebuild and strengthen muscles. Instead they just keep breaking down and getting more and more vulnerable.  

2. You avoid nasty overuse injuries.

It sounds like there should be something quite poetic about overuse injuries, the thing you love tearing you apart and all that. Well if you've ever been laid up with the likes of runners knee or a stress fracture, you'll know that the reality is nothing but misery. 

Running is a fantastic way of keeping your body, joints and bones healthy but too much of anything can cause problems. Recover properly and reap the benefits.



3. You give your joints some love.

Your tendons are strange little things, but they play a very important role in connecting your muscles to bone. Meaning they are working non stop as you run and move in general. Just like your muscles and bones, tendons get stronger through training but unlike muscles blood doesn’t get to them all that easily. Meaning they take a lot longer to than say your hamstrings.

If you don't let those tendons get the recovery they need, the constant pounding can cause chronic damage, like tendinitis.


4. You can do other things.

Rest days aren't just about letting your body recover, it's also about letting your head recover too. A day off the trails won't hurt your performance but it will help you appreciate them even more the next time. 

Instead relax, read a book, spend some time with your family or stretch those neglected muscles. Your body and mind will thank you!