When You Absolutely Don’t Feel Like Going for a Run

Don’t.

That’s it. Just don’t go.

There are days when you deserve it—one of the first signs of a lurking overtraining syndrome is the lack of enthusiasm to hit the gravel.

I used to beat myself over it. I used to motivate myself even though my body and mind simply didn’t want to go out for a training session. Usually, if I did go, it was a nice workout and I came back home all sweaty and happy, thinking it was a good thing to have convinced myself to head out.

But when your body explicitly tells you not to run, why go through the trouble of forcing it and torturing yourself? It there any benefit to be gained? For a long time, I thought yes. Now I know better.

The thing is, our bodies are pretty smart. They really do know when too much is too much and when we should reacquaint ourselves with the word “enough.”

So why do we listen to our bodies so rarely? Because we’re too ambitious, eager to get at a certain level of fitness too quickly. It’s a sign of excellent motivation but little experience. Most runners, especially those that aren’t lousy, know that to get better, faster, and stronger, you need to rest properly. It’s on recovery days that the positive adaptations occur, not when you drag your body to hell and back every day.

Thinking that miles spent on the road are the only thing that counts in the race to beat your personal best is a sure way to overtrain or get an injury. After all, when do you reckon all that hard training can actually settle in? Precisely on rest days, bro.

I bet many of you have been there: training to the point of feeling like going down with the flu one morning. Having Hashimoto’s, I’ve felt like that plenty of times before I realized what I was doing—inhibiting my progress instead of nailing down those PBs!

So if you want to get better and experience faster paces at lower heart rate, do yourself a favor and rest. After training consistently for over a year, I noticed that nothing has given me a better performance improvement as proper recovery.

And don’t beat yourself over a skipped workout—there’s a bunch of things you can do to make the most out of a rest day:

  • foam roll your whole body, with special emphasis on legs. Seriously, nothing is better than loosing up those tight muscles.
  • do a full-body stretch routine to increase mobility and flexibility.

I know that to some of you it might seem counterproductive to not go for a run, especially for a quality session. But I have observed tremendous benefits after postponing a hard workout for the next day. The first few times I had to reschedule a quality run I felt like I was betraying my training, like I was being lazy instead of smart. It was a huge mental obstacle, nothing else. In return, however, I got a renewed run crave and decreased risk of injury.

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