Why running all year long with no breaks is a bad idea!
For many HS athletes the Cross Country season started way back in July. Since that time runners have seen considerable gains in conditioning and performance. With the season coming to an end, I cannot over emphasize the importance of rest. It can be tempting to go from one season right to the next, but this strategy will ultimately catch up with you through injuries or just overall fatigue.
Runners can be an intense group. The idea of taking time off can be daunting. Some runners even feel that one day off can set them back. Actually, this is just the opposite, especially after a very hard race or effort. The fact that many runners do not adhere to the idea of running easy on easy days is another reason why rest is so important to prevent breakdown, injury, and fatigue. Research has shown that aerobic fitness is not effected by short layoffs. For most runners it takes 7-14 days for your aerobic fitness to start declining. For runners with a large training base that time is extended.
It is important to reset the body, address some of the aches you have been running with, and re-focus for the next season. This doesn’t mean you cannot do some light exercise when you take time off like stretching, yoga or light swimming.
Most coaches are aware of how important rest is. Stay on your coaches program. They will have mapped out a plan for an entire season with championship meets usually being the target of optimal performance. Trust in the plan and rest when required, run easy on easy days and harder on difficult days. It seems obvious, but for runners the mental can outweigh the sensible. Respect your body and what it has given you over a long season and give it a rest!
Disclaimer: This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.