Bad Angel Rule #82
I’ve been running long enough and suffered enough injuries to know that overtraining is your worst enemy. I know it’s easy to become obsessed with your training plan and filling your calendar with mileage, but I can’t stress this enough: you must include rest days. I don’t know what the perfect balance is, but here are some signs that you are running too much:
- Your resting heart rate is higher than normal. Remember: a runner’s heart is enlarged and normally beats slower (more effeciently) than a non-runner. If you feel it racing when you are sitting around, take note.
- You aren’t sleeping. This might be a direct result of the raised RHR, but this happens to me every time.
- You aren’t getting faster or feeling stronger. Although bad runs happen (all the time), if you aren’t seeing an improvement in your overall performance, you are probably overtraining.
- Your mental state of mind is dwindling. If the very thought of running is exhausting, then your body is trying to tell you something. This is different than the list of excuses that pop up because you are feeling lazy; we’re talking about the pure exhaustion that you shouldn’t ignore.
- You have a nagging injury that keeps flaring up. If your IT band hurts at the end of your runs, you are over-doing it. If your knee is aching, repeatedly, you need to rest. Your body is intelligent — listen to it. You can’t push back the wall of injury, you just won’t win.
This is an issue for all athletes. We love to push our bodies to see what we can do, but we can’t push them to the point of breaking. The experts realize this and have formulated an algorithm that calculates your perfect training plan for resting. It’s called Restwise, and it sounds pretty cool. And if you want to be a serious runner, one who goes the distance without injuries, do the right thing and REST. — Amie