Rest days are a very important component of training, yet, often neglected. There’s so much to do to get better, such that it becomes easy to skip a rest day. Your logic is the more you get done, the better you get. Why would you sit back and do nothing, when there’s always some kind of training you can do to get better. Here are 4 reasons why rest days are really important!
#1 You Become Stronger
When you undergo a tough workout, you are creating microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. The way your body responds to these microscopic tears is that it rebuilds your muscles to become stronger – to be better able to withstand more stress. The catch is your body needs time to rebuild these muscles. If you continuously put your body under stress, your muscles just keep breaking down. There is no opportunity to rebuild and strengthen your muscles. This hence negates all the hard work you’ve put in. Remember, you’re training to become stronger and recovery is a necessary condition for that.
#2 You Avoid Injuries
An injury is the bane of every runner. It puts us out for weeks, maybe even months. Rest is crucial in helping us manage injuries. If you keep putting your muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons under immense stress, sooner or later, it’s going to snap. You need to allow time for your joints and muscles to repair and get stronger. If it never has time to fully repair itself, you’re looking at an eventual stress fracture!
#3 You Don’t Overtrain
The dangers of overtraining cannot be stressed more. Overtraining can cause a decrease in performance despite increased intensity and volume of training. You are performing more than your body can handle. This is where rest days come in handy. Rest days keep you in check and gives your body a chance to recuperate. A scheduled once a week rest day can prevent overtraining syndromes. When overtraining happens, training do you more harm than good.
#4 It Gives Your Brain Time To Chill
Running is a stress relief method because it produces endorphins. However, if you’re constantly giving yourself pressure to progress, this becomes an additional source of stress. Instead of producing endorphins, your body produces cortisol – the stress hormone in the body. Your body confuses itself – are you running for fun or away from something? This increase in cortisol can lead to sleeping problems and irritability. Having a rest day helps prevent all these from happening!
Remember, recovery is part of training! Do not take it lightly!