I’m certainly not a top athlete, I just exercise for fun, health and fitness but even I know that when you’re really into your training routine it’s easy to get a bit obsessed. The problem is that overtraining causes the body to breakdown rather than replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.
Rest is as much part of a training schedule as, well, training. It enables the muscles to repair build and strengthen. Psychologically it’s also important to rest – to ensure a balance is maintained – it’s easy to feel guilty about not training.
I learnt this lesson a couple of years ago when I was training for my first (and only, so far) marathon. In fact I was following a marathon training programme from a well known running magazine which demanded that I ran more and more miles nearly every day. Not surprisingly after a couple of months I started to find that instead of getting fitter and stronger, I was feeling tired, lethargic and prone to injury.
One of the best decisions I made was to seek the help of a personal trainer, someone able to bring not just knowledge and experience into the process but also subjectivity. Although I love running, by mixing up my training sessions with gym work, cycling, swimming and running, not to forget some quality planned rest days, I am now finding that I am feeling much fitter and stronger than when I was running significantly more miles.
So take a tip from me – put your feet up from time and enjoy the rest, it’s doing you good, no need to feel guilty about being lazy!