After a series of long training sessions just about anyone could use a break. Here’s the first and only words you need to hear: It is totally fine to take a couple of days off to refuel and come back energised.
Most new runners may not understand that their body is not fit enough to take on the kind of exertion that even a 10K requires. So don’t be wary of taking a break after a heavy workout session or your first long run.
Avoid great exertion during this period and stress more on muscle repair, restocking muscle glycogen stores, and rehydrating. Your main concern should be taking care of yourself and rest to prevent injury.
Get a good night’s sleep
Lack of sleep or unsettled sleep affects your mood, personality, functionality, productivity and general well-being. And for an athlete who is getting over exhaustion it is important to get enough sleep. Cheating on sleep makes it harder to concentrate at work, does impair your appetite and causes irritability. It will naturally affect your running game as well. The better your sleep quality, the brighter your day will feel, so make sure that you get those precious 6-8 hours in, depending on how deep you sleep.
Make fiber your friend
There is no delicate way of putting this: fiber-rich foods ensure great bowel movements.
When you decrease your training volume, reduce consumption of refined carbs. Because you’re working out less, it’s important to not waste calories on empty treats, but on foods that fill you up with nutrition and good energy. We don’t want you getting back to training or (gasp!) race day feeling bloated. Fiber-rich sources do exactly that. Fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals are great options that also come loaded with antioxidants and immunity-boosters. Like everything else, balance is key, so remember not to overeat any one food group over another.
Do what relaxes you
Runners come from all fields – from artists to musicians to high-performing businessmen. There must be things other than running that you love doing, so take this time to catch up on it. Whether it be reading books or perfecting recipes in the kitchen. Alternatively, just spending time with your loved ones or just watching your favorite series on Netflix will do just fine. Anything that will help you distract yourself from the run or workout.
How quickly you recover from exhaustion and get back to normal training depends on the length of the race you have practiced for and the extent to which you have over-trained. It may take some time, but patience is the key.
If you have just completed your big race then you shouldn’t be in a rush to return to normal training. Just give your body a well-deserved rest and you’ll be better served in the long run.