We all experience those days when we feel less motivated to go out and run. That’s normal, all we have to do is keep ourselves motivated, follow a training plan and schedule so that our body keeps moving and stays happy. But sometimes demotivation lasts longer, if after a week or two you still struggle to get out and run these are signs that can suggest that you should take a break from running. For runners that go through racing season year after year, you can get to a point where your brain is looking for a break, not necessarily to stop exercising or moving, but maybe to enjoy different types of training.Goal-setting is a huge part of life and success. That’s why we sign up for races every season, or hire a coach, just to make sure we keep going. According to our personality type, some people have no problems setting up and following their own training plan and schedule, while others need to be pushed and motivated daily. When you start experiencing some longer-lasting demotivation with running, there might be signs that you should take a break mentally from running, and enjoy different types of regular exercises by listening to what your body feels like doing. If you have no injury or health issues, you need to keep moving and exercising daily, or as often as you used to run. Taking a month break from running if your brain is asking for it is ok. As long as you set up a training schedule to keep yourself motivated to swim, bike, do some strength workouts, HIIT sessions, yoga, whatever you feel like doing as long as you keep going and stay fit. Once you feel like running again, you will still be fit and your body will be happy. To take a break from running during the off-season races, might help your body to recover both physically and mentally. To do different types of exercises will engage and strengthen different muscles, and your brain will get a better rest.
On the other hand, if running demotivation last longer, it can be triggered by other issues. If you listen to your body, you might have to take a break to take care of your health.
Signs you should take a break
Injury: Our body is very excellent in giving warning signs before a serious injury. Most injuries don’t appear instantly, they start off with small aches and pains. When you run and you feel some strong pain, don’t be afraid to take some days off, even if you don’t run for a few days or one week you won’t reduce your fitness level.
Frequent sickness: If you often get sick, your immune system might be affected, especially if you get colds or flu too often. Your training intensity or distance might be affecting your immune system. Take a break for a few days and see if you notice a difference, if you do, then take extra time off to make sure you recover properly.
Higher resting heart rate: When your resting heart rate is higher than usual, it is a massive indicator that your body is under a lot of stress. This is very common after long-distance races, which is a sign that you need to take some days off to recover and get more sleep.
Over-training: To get stronger and faster you must train. However, more and harder isn’t always better, you need to find the right balance between pushing yourself and recovery. If you don’t listen to your body, eventually you might burn out or get injured.
Signs of over-training: -Regression: If your stamina, endurance and speed starts to diminish even though you’re putting in the same effort means these are signs that your body needs some rest.
-Fatigue: If you feel more tired even though you are sleeping enough or more, that means you are pushing your body too hard and need to lower your training intensity and take a break.
-Sickness: If you are getting sick often, you need to take a break and get more rest.
-Lack of motivation: If you are doing a race and don’t care if you make your goal or not or just feel like you can DNF, these are signs that your body is not happy and needs to rest.
Under-fueling: Many runners don’t realize how important fueling is to support our body and metabolism. To follow very strict diets, or not getting enough nutrients might have some serious consequences. When you are training regularly, intensely or for long-distance races, you need to make sure you eat healthy and balanced meals so your body isn’t depleted of specific nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Side effects of poor diets can be fatigue, sickness or injuries. For runners who are following intense training programs, it is very important to get bloodwork done at least twice per year to make sure your body is not depleted of certain common vitamins and minerals such as iron, B12, magnesium etc.
Listen to your body if you are not motivated to train like usual, taking a break for endurance runners or athletes can help prevent many health issues. If you have no injury or health issues, keep exercising differently, in a fun way, regularly, while you take a break from running.
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!