Pump The Brakes: Why Training Breaks Are Important

Pump The Brakes: Why Training Breaks Are Important

📅September 21st, 2015, 12:30

20150728_162559This week, we’ve got a special guest post from Little Wing Project runner Collier Lawrence! Collier is a rockstar Steeplechaser…she ran at Washington State and has been an elite member of Oiselle’s racing team since 2012.

She’s got wisdom for us this week on why rest days (weeks!) are an important part of your training plan…and how to keep yourself from hating: {insert your sport of choice here}.

No matter what you do, or how much you love it, taking a little time away is the best way to make sure your love for your sport stays strong so that you can keep going and tackle your goals! Keep reading for the rest from Collier…

Pump the Breaks: Why Training Breaks Are Important

Any well thought out training plan has two things built in: a break after the event and down weeks scheduled in through out training. I always end up face planting into the issue of “I feel good! I don’t want a down week,” or “I’m not ready for my break…I’ll just keep training through to the next thing.”

This has never worked out for me, even though in the moment I’m convinced I am an unstoppable force with a never ending battery. When I push through, I start to bomb key workouts and/or/then I start to hate running. It’s insane how quickly you can go from deep love for your sport to looking across the garage at your running shoes and wanting to light them on fire.

I joke that skiing is my first love but running is my soulmate. I’ve never hated skiing but running I’ve hated to the ends of the earth and back. I’ve been at this running in circles (aka track and field) thing for the better part of fifteen years and every year I learn something. In the last year though I’ve changed coaches and I’ve finally learned to take my easy days, respect down weeks, and honor my breaks!

It sounds so obvious to say rest is just as important as workouts, long runs, etc. But in the heat of the moment it’s easy to just blow though those. Hammer time is not the name of the game. Here’s the thing – your body was not made to go at 100% forever. There will be a breaking point. I started (and was mildly forced via HR monitor) to take those easy days and how I feel speaks for itself. All track season I was able to hit time in workouts I didn’t think possible and I felt good doing it. Taking the easy days let my body soak in the hard work I’d been doing the other days because it wasn’t under constant stress.

My other arch nemesis has always been breaks. The thought process usually goes something like this, “If I just start training now that’s two or so weeks extra I’ve got going for me. That will put me closer to hitting my max weekly mileage so I can get a little more time to build my foundation.”

Then what actually happens is three months down the road I find myself wishing I could just go jog around in the mountains or go on an epic mountain bike adventure. At that point, I’m already in the next training block, where a few days here and there is okay but not when you want to string a couple weeks of camping and hiking and kayaking together.

Take your planned break. Go do the stuff you wouldn’t normally do. Go explore, surf, run trails you never see, ski, do nothing.

Get it out of your system (I’m still not convinced it ever gets out of your system, I’m going with the theory your alter ego just gets fed enough to hibernate for a bit.) After a few weeks you’ll want to go back to routine and the routine will be welcome. You need to honor the freedom to go do whatever so you can plug back into routine refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle your next big event.

It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to light my shoes on fire and I know that honoring my rest days and taking my breaks this year has been the difference maker. If you find yourself getting stale take a couple days of to do something different. There’s no worse feeling than starting that downward spiral into loathing something you love so much.