At the moment, many runners are out there getting in all their training sessions. But if you aren’t that dedicated to your plan, it’s alright. It isn’t the end of the world to be skipping training runs. We’ve all heard the running with illness advice, if it’s above the neck you’re fine, below the neck you should probably put it off. I want to counter that with another piece of advise: If you’re not feeling up for it, don’t do it.
For the past week I haven’t run. Taking this much of a break right in the middle of half marathon training has made me feel a little unfit. Almost as if not doing this training will mean I won’t be able to complete the 21.1km in March. As the time has gone on, however, I’ve realised how absurd this seems. Training while you’re feeling run down will only reduce to quality of each run. Quality should always come above quantity, when training for a time. My goal is a sub-2 half, but I’ve been struggling during my long runs to keep my pace below 6min/km, over 30 seconds above the goal pace. I’ve not been too worried about this as during faster runs I have been able to keep the pace up, and during races you tend to be a bit faster anyway.
My main concern has been how long runs have been making me feel. I’ve been part way through them and have just been so negative about my progress that I’ve either stopped or just really slowed down. On top of this a couple of niggles keep coming to the surface. By having a little break I’ve wanted to give my body time to recover and hopefully heal these little niggles, in order for the next few weeks of training and the race to go really well.
Here’s how have a break from running can help you:
- The body repairs any small injuries that have occurred throughout training
- Any enthusiasm for running you’ve lost may come back
- Small breaks will see no changes in VO2 max (10 days see negligible decreases)
Taking breaks can really help you on your next training section or block. Especially if you’re feeling run down, or busy with general life. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t feel guilty for having time off.