When should you take a rest day, and when should you push through the pain?
It’s a question that many track coaches are constantly asked, but the problem is that it’s hard to determine when someone else should take a rest day.
The decision to take a rest day should be made by you, because you are the only one that knows what feels right for your body, and what feels wrong for your body.
This is probably not the answer you want to hear, so I will give you a couple of tips about deciding whether you should take a rest day, or whether you just feeling lazy and don’t want to run.
One thing that you have to realize is that feeling sore is not an excuse for a rest day. Easy running actually helps your muscles recover and makes you feel less sore afterwards.
So When Should You Take A Rest Day?
If you have bad pain anywhere in your body that is not soreness related, or if you’re having bad stomach problems, are throwing up, or you have a burning sensation in your chest you should definitely take a rest day, or maybe even a rest week.
However, there are also cases where you might not be sure whether you should take a rest day or if you should run. Some examples might be feeling tired, having a runny nose, just not feeling right, having blisters, having a headache, or other possible small problems.
In many cases, my recommendation is this: try running for at least two or three minutes and usually you’ll realize that you don’t feel as bad as you thought you did. Many times you might start out feeling incredibly tired, but is you run more and more you’ll actually start feeling better and less tired.
Unless you’re incredibly sick, running with a runny nose is fine and it won’t hurt you in the long term. If you have blisters, then they will take more than just a simple rest day to heal, so put a Band-Aid on the blisters and go out and run.
If you have a headache, that could be part of a serious problem, or it could be simply from stress, (running is great for stress-relief by the way). It can also be sign of dehydration, so if you pee is a very yellow color, you should drink more water and your headache might go away.
What Should You Do During Your Rest Day?
Okay, see you decided to take a rest day.
For many people, that might want to play video games, read books, or do something else in the time that you would be running, but in many cases the best thing to do is just take a nap or sleep.
This will make sure that you are ready to run the next day, and most high schoolers are already sleep deprived, so sleeping a little bit more will give you an advantage over your competitors.
You can also foam roll and stretch, but that should be something that you already do every day.
Sometimes, if you’re feeling really sick, you might want to consider taking a rest week instead of practicing, because you won’t improve much because your body will be focused on getting you healthy, and you might just make yourself more sick. It’s easier to come back and make up the workouts that you missed, rather than running for two, three, or four weeks while being partially sick and not improving.