Everyone needs rest. Whether you feel good or not, your body needs rest to adapt to the stress of your training. In fact, if you neglect recovery for too long, you may start to lose strength and speed. This is known as overtraining.
Family, work, and other obligations, in addition to our training schedule, means we continually try to “fit it all in.” This means that our rest and recovery time is reduced.
Pay attention to the below markers. If three or more of these indicators describe you, it’s time for a few easy sessions or days off so you can return to running strong.
A two percent drop in weight from one day to the next indicates a body-fluid fluctuation. Most likely, you didn't hydrate enough during or after your last workout. Dehydration negatively impacts both physical and mental performance, and could compromise the quality of your next workout.
Elevated Resting Heart Rate (HR)
Take your pulse each morning before you get out of bed to determine what's normal for you. An elevated resting heart rate is one sign of stress. It means your nervous system is releasing hormones that speed up your heart to move more oxygen to the muscles and brain. Your body won't know the difference between physical and psychological stress. A hard run and a hard day at work both require extra recovery.
A pattern of consistently good sleep will give you a boost of growth hormones, which are great for rebuilding muscle fibers. Several nights in a row of bad sleep will decrease reaction time along with immune, motor, and cognitive functions—not a good combination for a workout.
Low Energy Levels
Some athletes think pushing through is the answer. But this is not the case. Your body needs rest for peak performance.
Irritable and Cranky
When your body is overwhelmed by training (or other stressors), it produces hormones like cortisol that can cause irritability or anxiety.
You’re Under the Weather…Again
You continually get sick. You are run down and your body begins to break down. This means you need to back down!
Your Workouts are Suffering
If your speed and intensity have declined or you are not feeling strong enough to push to those previous intensities, your body needs a break.
Be smart about your training. Giving yourself time to regenerate, rejuvenate, and recover will allow your body to go further in the long run.