Running is a healthy activity and doing it regularly has many long-term health benefits. Some of these include weight maintenance and becoming stronger, improving your endurance, being more alert during the daytime and being able to sleep better at nights.But even though running is good for you, you also need to know when you should back off – and take a break from running. This is because too much running without sufficient recovery time, will affect your sleep patterns and energy levels, as well as cause your immune system to crash and result in eventual burnout in not only running, but also your work and social life.
So when should you back off from running and take a rest? Here are some tell-tale signs that you should be looking out for.
1. You didn’t sleep well
If you have had a restful night, it helps to repair the damaged muscle fibres caused by running. But not sleeping well, will result in a decrease in reaction time, as well as your immune, motor and cognitive functions.
You will know if you didn’t sleep well – you would feel very lethargic and tired when you open your eyes in the morning. So have a rest before your next running session.
2. Your urine is dark yellow
When your urine is dark yellow, you should back off from running.
Whether or not it has been caused by running, having a dark yellow urine indicates dehydration, thus meaning that your body is struggling to retain liquids.
Running when dehydrated only makes this worse as you will be expelling even more liquids though sweat. So make sure you drink plenty of water and at the same time, ensure that your urine is almost clear when you decide to go out and run.
3. You feel cranky
If you have been overtraining, you may be feeling cranky and irritable. This is because – a healthy body releases chemicals such as dopamine which regulates your mood, and if you are stressed, the production of dopamine will be halted, causing mood swings and cranky states of mind in a person. So when this happens, give yourself a break first, before going running again.
4. You are sickIf you have caught a bug, or if you are feeling particularly lethargic as a result of your menstrual cycle, then you should probably take a break from running.
This is because such conditions require the body to work overtime to repair itself and running will cause you to use up more energy that you should not be using. So do take a rest.
5. You feel pain
If you feel any sort of pain, whether it is from overworked muscles or an injury, your body needs all the energy it can get to repair itself. So do take a rest and allow your body to heal completely.
6. You had a poor workout
If you felt particularly lethargic on a workout and even though you have rested for the rest of your day, you may not feel any better. So this could be a sign that you need a break from running in order to help the body to rest and recover before you can run again.
7. You feel fatigued throughout the dayNo matter how much rest you may have had, you still feel fatigued, even when you are not running. This could be a sign that you need to take a break from running.
While some athletes may have the ability to push away fatigue and force themselves to complete a training workout, it will not make them stronger – it will only end up ruining their body more.
If you can mark several of these ‘red flags’ off, it is about time to dial back the intensity and take a break from running. Try taking up some light cross training activities such as yoga in order to help the body to recover properly.