Running is a great activity for physical and mental health, but you mustn’t underestimate the wear and tear that it can cause on your body – especially if you don’t ensure you get adequate rest and recovery.
During a run, your body experiences tiny tears in your muscles from the strain you are putting it through. You need a sufficient period of recovery after runs to allow your muscles to repair and grow stronger from these tears.
Resting also helps your body to adapt to the (usually increasing) demands of your training schedule, thereby ensuring that you don’t risk injury from overuse. Meanwhile, your mental focus is enhanced by rest, which contributes to your overall sense of wellbeing. Periods of rest are also a great opportunity to get a sense of whether you are developing any aches or pains – for example a hot spot on your foot that might be prevented from turning into a blister by the application of a Compeed plaster.
Finally, make sure you are getting good quality sleep; this is when your body releases its growth hormones, doing its most intensive work repairing muscle tissue and restoring energy levels. Between seven and nine hours of sleep per night is ideal for supporting running performance and overall health.