There is a difference between true recovery and simply resting. Recovery involves what we do post-run. It can be anything from stretching and mobility work to applying heat or ice to our joints, or even what we consume after the run. All of these affect how we repair our bodies after runs and how we progress in our training.
On the other hand, rest is giving your body a break. Whether that’s decreased activity (or active rest) or simply doing nothing. It’s important to listen to your body and do what works best for you. When you overwork your body, it is more susceptible to injury. Resting will help you avoid this.
According to Dr. Deena Casiero of UCONN Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, in order to prevent injury, we must rest and recover. Casiero says, “Rest is critical to avoiding injury and seeing gains in your training program. You cannot get faster or stronger without allowing your body time to heal and recover.”
Don’t be afraid to schedule a break from running once or twice a week, or even more frequently, if your body needs it. The exact length of recovery depends on each runner, but the more miles you put in, the more recovery you will need. For example, after you are done training and completing a marathon, at least one full week off from running is recommended.
It’s okay to do light exercise such as walks or bike rides, but nothing too rigorous. It’s crucial to decrease the amount of stress on the body and allow it to heal from training and race day.