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When to Take A Rest Day

rest day off recover relax running fitness exercise program design




written by runnergirl training


We as workout enthusiasts spend a lot of time and energy focused on our workouts and nutrition. We often forget there is another key component to a well-balanced training plan. It’s called rest. That is when the body recovers from all of the punishments of training. See more below!


Rest can be in a few different formats. First of all, rest is needed each night in the form of 7-9 hours of sleep. That is the recommended amount for adults. When training intensity increases it is beneficial to also increase sleep. For example, if training for a marathon target to get 9 hours of sleep verses the 6-7 hours on which you usually manage.

Rest can also mean rest and recovery days. These days can vary a lot depending on your training program and personal preference. If playing sports, you may take off every Friday, the day before your games. If you are a body building, you may take off every Thursday because you work late that day & it best fits your schedule. If you are training for a half marathon your rest days may vary during the training program and could include a low impact workout or complete rest.

The following are specific signals that your body needs a day off:

rest day overtraining stress elevated resting heart rate


Elevated resting heart rate. That is your body telling you it is overstressed and needs some rest.

Poor sleep quality for a few nights. When sleep suffers so do your workouts’ performance and the body is lacking the quality of sleep necessary to rebuild muscle and recover.

Body fluid decrease. If your bodyweight decreases by 2% or more it is a sign of dehydration. If not properly hydrated your workouts, physical and mental energy will suffer.

rest day overtraining stress fatigue tired


Fatigue. Seems obvious but we all tend to push forward even when our bodies are yelling for rest. If you are feeling low on energy and run down it is time to stop.

rest day overtraining stress injury injuried


Nagging injuries return. We all know of a soft tissue nagging injury that seems to be just waiting to strike again. When that hip or knee pain starts screaming at you it is a sign to back off. Also, consider if your running shoes need to be replaced.

Moody, down or irritable. The stress hormones that occur from overtraining also cause mood to plummet. If you just snapped at the 3rd person today take that as a warning that your body is tired.

rest day overtraining stress sick


Sick. Again we often try to push past the sniffles or write off not feeling well as something else. In reality it could be a depleted body overwhelmed by lack of rest. It already waved the white flag but the invaders attacked and broke it down. Time to take a few days – week off. Only return to light/easy training after being completely well for at least a day or two. Taking an extra few days off when sick is smart. You don’t want to become sicker down the road from not fully recovering. I have learned this the hard way many times & it resulted in a debilitating stomach virus, bronchitis, pneumonia & pleurisy. Take the days off.

Hope these signs to take a rest day will help you next time they crop up uninvited in your life. Rest happy and train on!

All products are mine I personally purchased. Socks are Sockwell compression socks that I also purchased.


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