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Jan 11, 2023

Better Get Rest!

Rest?  Who me?  Why?

I am on a fitness journey with goals and training on my calendar and I do not have time to rest.  I have deadlines to meet and goals to accomplish if I want to run this 10K next spring and this Half Marathon next summer.

Does any of that sound familiar?  If so, please take some time, perhaps even a rest and read further to learn about the importance of taking a rest during workout and training periods.

Although you may have set some pretty dope and admirable goals for yourself, there is such a thing as overtraining.  Overtraining symptoms are easy to recognize, but not easy to figure out how to respond to the symptoms and begin to do something wiser for your body.

One symptom of overtraining is the feeling of pure exhaustion all the time no matter what stage of training you are in or how easy the runs have become.  If you are sacrificing other areas of your life for training, this is not a good balance.  Again, no matter how dope and admirable your goals are, sacrificing the well-being and health of your body is not good.  If you are sacrificing sleep, hydration, eating a well balanced meal, and sacrificing taking time to recover, sacrificing these things can have an adverse effect on your entire training plan.

These sacrifices can actually set you back rather than move you forward towards a more positive and strong training regimen.

What are some signs that tell you that you need rest?

Overtraining is a condition characterized by fatigue, diminishing performance and burnout.  Many runners think that feeling weak or not doing well is a sign that they need to train even harder, so they keep pushing themselves even further. This just worsens all the existing symptoms you were feeling from overreaching and leads to overtraining.

Overtraining can cause your athletic performance to plateau and then decrease rather than improve.

Listed below are 9 symptoms of overtraining for runners:

  • Sleep issues
  • Hydration issues – being thirsty all of the time
  • Feeling slower and weaker
  • Aches and pains – including headaches
  • Mental burnout
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest. You feel obligated to train.  You no longer enjoy it.
  • No menstrual period or irregular period.

Factoring in rest days into your training schedule is just as, if not more important than the training itself.  Taking a regular day or day(s) off keeps you mentally and physically strong.  Our bodies need time to recover from the intense training.

Posting your pace, your time, your training details on social media every day is also strenuous on your mind.  Your mind is always thinking you must do better than the last details you posted.  This stresses you mentally.  While those watching you may be cheering you on, your brain processes the details differently and goes into a competitive mode even before race day.  Stressors of the mind need rest too!

Rest days allow the repairing process to take place, thus helping our muscles to repair and get stronger, allowing us to ultimately run faster. Rest days allow our bodies to go harder in sessions as you will feel stronger, less fatigued, and raring to go again.

Some of us find it difficult to take rest days.  We have this internal notion that if we ‘rest’, we are slacking, or cheating.  That is far from the truth.

So Black Girls RUN! – you Better Get Rest!  Your mind, body, and soul will thank you in the long run!

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in the Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.