When we start a new activity or training we are usually so motivated that we don’t mind doing it every day. In fact, many times we are looking forward to this new hobby because it helps us relax, takes us away from stress and also keeps us fit.
This is what happens to many of the people who decide to start running: they start out very motivated and go running every day. But is this beneficial for our bodies? Does it benefit us in terms of improving our records? Or is it better that we leave at least a couple of days a week to rest?
The risk of overtraining and overloading
Practicing physical activity on a daily basis is something we must internalize if we are looking to move away from a sedentary life. But this does not mean that we must necessarily train every day: a well-planned training, which will also help us to create a habit, also has days of active rest and total relaxation.
The key, as always, is in the periodization and planning, in which important factors such as rest come into play. If we go running every day, and especially if we always do the same type of training and with the same intensity, without giving our body a rest, we can end up falling into overtraining and not progressing towards our goals.
On the other hand, excessive workload and poor rest can also predispose us to some of the most common injuries among runners, especially those involving joints such as knees, ankles or hips. When we go out to run we make a very repetitive movement during a long period of time that, in case of not giving it the suitable rest, it would be overloading all the time the same structures of our body and leading this way to a possible injury.
The importance of active rest
We must be clear that rest must be part of our training: during the periods of rest our body recovers from the effort we have made and prepares itself to demand a new effort after some time. On the other hand, we must also know that “rest” does not have to mean “inactivity”, and that active rest can be part of our daily life, maintaining a good level of physical activity.
So, the most important thing is that we plan our training so that we include days of active rest in it, which will help us create that new habit we are looking for and which, at the same time, will let our body rest. A walk in the park, the combination of running training with other activities that can make us better at it and that have a low impact (like yoga or pilates) or the combination with other sports are the key to make our new habit last a long time and help us to keep in shape.
Also, remember that running is not just running: running technique training and strength training help you be a better runner, improve your times and avoid injuries, and can also help you create that training habit you are looking for.