Key 5: Don’t ignore rest
Rest can be taken in the form of a complete rest day or a recovery session
Sadly, rest is ignored in the training diaries and programs of many runners, both recreational and elite. As a physiotherapist, I routinely see the results of insufficient rest when rehabilitating injured runners, who failed to schedule enough rest as part of their training. The large percentage of overuse running injuries that I treat as a physiotherapist have inadequate rest as one of the key contributory factors in the development of the injury.
Take for example the injured runner who fails to schedule enough rest following a weekly hill run. The runner’s Achilles tendon may begin to get sore following the weekly training run through the local hills. Rather than rest until the soreness of the Achilles tendon dissipates, the eager debut marathoner runs their next hill run session too soon after the last one, with the result being that the tendon now feels even worse.
This cycle of not allowing sufficient rest in between hill running sessions is repeated until the eager and hopeful debut marathoner develops a full-blown Achilles tendon injury. Frustratingly, the runner discovers that the injury will sideline them for a substantial period of time, jeopardising their debut attempt at the 42.195km distance. The likelihood is that this aspiring marathoner will miss taking to the start line come marathon day.
Rest can be taken in the form of a complete rest day, a rest or recovery session or even some easy weeks or blocks of time. In order to get the training-to-rest ratio correct for your training and event preparation, I recommend engaging the services of a qualified running coach or seasoned marathon runner.
I write at length about the power of rest for runners in my book ‘You CAN Run Pain Free! A Physio’s 5 Steps to Enjoying Injury Free and Faster Running’ available at pogopyhysio.com.au.