If you’ve followed along on this site, you know that I start every training block with a period of rest and recovery. Time and time again I see athletes complete a season, or a training build up and immediately jump back into running and training.
And I get it.
We want to be good. We want to be great. We want to be fast.
But, I just don’t think that the body (or mind) works that way.
So, why do we REST after a season, or after a training block is complete?
Here are a few reasons why:
- Your body needs to recover. We need to PHYSICALLY rest up and recharge our bodies. I’m not asking you to be a couch potato during this time, but if you choose to do that during this rest period…THAT’S OKAY!
- Your mind needs to recover. If you train with intention and race like you should (with full heart and effort), then your mind has been locked in on one goal for a long time. We need to MENTALLY rest up and recharge before we start locking in on another goal. You need to be refreshed and renewed mentally just as much as you do physically.
- You need to be hungry for the training. I want you to actually miss training during this break — so that you’ll be excited about it once you get it back. Usually, when my athletes are like, “Man, I’m ready to get back on it…” I know that they have at least refreshed and recharged the mind.
A few years back I read an article/interview with Bob Kennedy where he said he usually took a month off after the track season. He was a professional and so it was a long year for him…usually starting in October with base training and finishing up his main season in August or September. A month is a long time…but he wanted longevity in sport and he wanted to make sure that he was ready both MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY before starting that year-long grind of training and racing. Bob Kennedy ran 12:56 for 5000 meters. He was 6th at the 1996 Olympics in the 5000 meters.
If resting is good enough for Bob Kennedy…it’s probably good enough for us too.
So, how much should you rest after a season or training block is completed?
7-14 days is optimal.
I typically have my marathoners take 10 days of complete rest after a marathon (with an encouragement to walk, hike, swim, etc.) and then we do a 10 day easy running transition before training resumes.
My college cross country runners usually take 7-10 days off after the XC season, but usually take 2-3 weeks off after the long track season.
The first rule of good training is that no one is exempt from rest. Make sure you are recharged, refreshed, and renewed MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY before you start your next training block.