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Here’s When To Give Running A Break

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It's time to give running a break when it isn't fun or too draining for the body and mind. Here’s When To Give Running A Break www.runnerclick.com

We often struggle to get going and to continue going during those longer runs. But, as runners, we learn to preserve and get the run done no matter the distance. The more we run, the easier we find it is to lace up and complete a scheduled workout even when we don’t really want to. We become more disciplined over time. And when we are training for a big race, this often means running more and more. And then after completing a handful of races, we then find ourselves just not wanting to run anymore. There are countless tips on how to stay motivated, but what if we just want to call it quits for a bit? How do we know when it’s time to give running a break?

The Pause

For some, it takes a lot to fall in love with running. And sometimes we never really actually love the sport, but rather enjoy its health benefits and how it makes us feel. We should enjoy the activity to at least some degree. Those with a passion for running find it fun or consider it their “me” time to de-stress. We all run for a reason, and when that reason is lost it might be time to hit the pause button.

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If the runner is completely miserable during a run, it might be a sign to hang up the shoes for a bit. There is a difference between lacking motivation for a day and dreading every single step the runner takes. Evaluate goals and why it is you are running. Sometimes we just need to hit the reset button and take a few days off. This gives our body the break from running it needs, as well as rests the mind. Try again in a few days to get back out there and see if the runner is now ready to rock it again.

Many runners find that following strict training plans over long periods of time (think back to back races to train for throughout the year) sucks the fun out of running. If this is the case, it might be best to give racing a break and instead just get to running as a way to workout and have fun. Leave the fitness tracker and headphones at home and run just to run and not for specific training goals.

The Break-Up

Sometimes we put the brakes on running and sometimes the break up is not something we want to do, but rather have to do. An injury or potential risk of an injury absolutely means it’s time to give running a break.

Sometimes a break is needed for just a day or two when the body feels really sore. Being sore 24 to 48 hours after a run is normal, especially for beginners. Don’t take off from working out entirely, since moving around is an active recovery that can speed up soreness and prevent stiffness.

Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash.

But when the runner is experiencing shin splints or plantar fasciitis, it’s time to sit it out and give the body time to rest and heal. These injuries are often signs of overtraining. If the runner doesn’t take a break from running, a more serious injury can occur. It’s better to take a few weeks off than having to take months off.

Warning Signs To Pump The Brakes

Besides typical soreness, if the runner is experiencing pain they need to take a break. Consult a doctor if pain continues after spending the time to rest.

Besides injury, the runner can sometimes just feel too tired. If you find yourself with low energy and mentally drained, it’s a good sign to pump the brakes. Take a few days or longer if needed.

Similarly, if the runner can’t reach their weekend mileage goal or get to those last miles when in a long run, this is a sign that they took on too much right now. The runner might not be ready to go the distance. This could also be a sign of overtraining if the body is too exhausted to go on. We aren’t talking about once or twice, but more consistency being off your game. Try switching things up with more rest days and other types of workouts to build up endurance. The same goes for if the runner can’t reach their pace goals after consistency working on getting faster. This is a sign that the body needs a rest.

Benefits Of A Break

Photo by Pavel Anoshin on Unsplash.

Sometimes, we just need a break from the pressures of racing and the demand running has on our bodies and minds. Taking some time off from running gives the body time to heal—and we aren’t just talking about from major injury. Running consistently leave the muscles and tendons overworked, and resting gives then time to cool off if you will.

So how long should we break for? This depends. Some need a few days to a week to mentally get back in the zone. This is great for those who don’t want to lose all the hard work they accomplished. The longer time is taken off, the slower the runner’s time will get.

However, research found that it takes about 4 weeks of rest to have the muscles recovered after intense training. This means it can be a good idea to take a few weeks off and have an “off-season” throughout the year before training again for the next big race.


  1. Jackie Veling, 10 Warning Signs You Might Need a Break from Running, Running Website
  2. Christine Luff, How to Deal With Muscle Soreness After Running , Health Website
  3. Rashelle Brown, Taking a Break from Running May Do You Some Good, Running Website
  4. Owen Anderson, Ph.D., Take A Break For Peak Performance, Running Website

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