I’ve been on a training hot streak. I was going hard every day for 3 weeks. During the third week, I felt awful. I wasn’t sleeping as much as the previous weeks. I was eating too much junk. I knew I needed to take a couple days off. I felt it. I also felt like I would lose everything if I stopped running. I didn’t want to break my streak.
Taking a day off, when you’re on a hot steak, can be really hard. It feels like you’ll let momentum slip through your hands and you’ll continue skipping days. The good news for us, we need to take rest days.
When we give our body the opportunity to rest, we actually make progress. Our muscles adapt to the stress we’ve been giving them and when we hit the gym again, they’re more prepared to handle the load.
While it can feel counterintuitive that skipping a day at the gym or running will ensure progress, it’s the truth. Without taking a day off, we risk over stressing our bodies. While pushing through when you’re feeling banged up may feel like the right choice to keep momentum going. More times than not shutting it down pays better.
Yesterday, I had a great run coming from taking 4 out of 5 days off. I hated it while it was happening. I was sure I was going to lose my momentum and desire to train. Getting back on the wagon yesterday was tough. As soon as I hit the woods, I couldn’t hold back my smile. Running was fun again. I needed those days off. Obviously.