When we are looking to make big strides in our running programmes, towards a goal time or distance for example; we often push ourselves too hard.
The reality of the matter is that, as everyone is different, there is no hard and fast rule as to how much exercise we can do without rest. What is certain, however, is that there is always the need for some level of recovery. Because of the way muscle is built, using times of rest to effectively repair and strengthen itself; never resting will actually hamper your training efforts. Over training will inevitably lead to injury, this will obviously be the biggest hurdle to achieving your goals.
If you find that your progress is slowing, or not moving at all; you may not be training enough or you might not be resting enough.
If you find that, despite getting the recommended 6-9 hours of sleep per night, you still find yourself tired and aching. It might be worth taking a day or two to rest. Rest days do not need to be, or even shouldn’t be, completely sedentary; make sure you keep your body moving. You can even still run, just drop the intensity a bit.
Do you sometimes find that you irrespective of how much you hydrate, you still feel thirsty? This can be a result of to much training. Your body needs time to repair itself and replenish the vital nutrients it uses to keep you at your peak. If you do not give enough time for it to recover, it may just stop trying. Your body could be in what is called a Catabolic state, effectively a state where it is wasting away.
The most important thing to remember when having a rest day is that you still need to keep moving. Sitting or laying around may well make any soreness you are feeling worse. Go for at least a walk on your rest days and you will find that your workout routine becomes even more effective.