This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
It’s that time of the year again. Some of us have already finished our fall racing seasons. Some will be soon. All of us should be thinking about taking a break.
Why take a break, especially if we finish our racing season and are feeling good and highly motivated? Because your mind and body need it. If they don’t demand it now, they will. Nobody can keep going forever. It’s far better to take a planned break when you have no races on the immediate horizon than to take an unplanned break when your body or mind gives out as an important race is approaching.
What should you do for your break? It depends on you. Personally, I think almost everyone would be well served by taking some time completely away from running but, as most of you are probably are aware, I don’t do that myself. Running is such a big part of my life, far beyond competition, that I need to have it there. I’d probably have a mental breakdown if I was forced away from running for any significant period of time. So I keep running, short and easy. No “training” allowed, though. I’m just running because it’s what I love to do. If that’s what you need, then at least do that. If you can take some time away from running, all the better.
How long should the break be? Again, it depends on you. I think everyone would benefit from at least 4 weeks once a year with a true break from training. I usually give myself 4 weeks with no training, then tell myself I’ll start training when I feel ready again physically and mentally. That means I’m both physically feeling good and mentally feeling motivated to do the work that comes when training starts.
Once your racing is done, give yourself a break. Your body and mind will thank you with better training and racing next year.