Whether preparing for a body building competition, a triathlon, or a speedy 5k, rest is the often forgotten component of a balanced training program, even among seasoned athletes.
Roy Cohen, a mindful exercise expert, reports that in his thirty years of working with recreational athletes to elite runners, he estimates that over 50% train too hard. He notes that over-training involves eating and sleeping too little, as well as taking too few days off from intense exercise.
Why does your body need rest days? Put simply, it has to rebuild.
Muscles require anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to recover and strengthen themselves and jumping back into your workouts too quickly doesnâ€™t allow tissue to be repaired. This is particularly true when doing resistance exercise, which causes tiny tears in the muscles. In addition, rest is vital to restore energy and hydration.
A lack of rest can cause serious consequences â€“ none of which are desirable when you have a big event in mind. Many athletes who fail to incorporate adequate rest end up with what some call overtraining syndrome. Overtraining occurs when athletes push too hard for too long and can result in physical and mental exhaustion, chronic soreness, decreased immune system functioning, and, yesâ€¦ decreased performance.
This isnâ€™t to mention the potential risk for serious injury, such as muscle or joint damage, which could leave you completely sidelined. The Wall Street Journal reports that up to 25% of marathoners never make it to the race, many due to injuries and exhaustion.
To go into your next event stronger and more powerful, ensure that you understand the benefits and various types of rest. Youâ€™ll see the benefits in your mental state and your personal record.