I keep coming back to this because I think it is something we often find difficult: how much is too much? Should I rest or keep going? Here are some key questions to ask yourself, courtesy of The Running Physio website:
- Are you often feeling tired during the day?
- Are you noticing mood changes, low concentration levels or feeling stressed frequently?
- Are you sleeping for at least 6-8 hours; do you feel rested when you get up?
- Do you have a weekly rest day?
- Do you schedule in extra rest days, maybe even a rest week, after events or when increasing your training?
It is fine to feel tired as long as you are recovering; for instance after a heavy session you should be recovered after a few days, longer if it was a major challenge such as your first marathon! If you are always feeling tired then this needs to be addressed.
It is worth keeping a training diary together with space to note how you are feeling and how long it took you to recover from your session. You can also note factors such as a bad night's sleep, feeling under the weather, stress at work or home, a heavy meal or big changes in weather conditions. You could even note down what you eat and drink each day. This may help you to notice any factors affecting your performance and recovery so you can make adjustments. If you are unfortunate enough to develop an injury this diary may help you to identify possible causes such as a rapid increase in training intensity and so help with both appropriate treatment and avoiding a repeat occurrence.
Likewise when we have a niggling injury: how much is it bothering you as you exercise - mild discomfort that eases quickly with with no negative after effects, or pain you have to work hard to ignore and hits you again later that day or even a day or two later? Is it a niggle that you feel is improving as you continue training, or is it staying the same or even getting worse? The general advice is to find a level to train at that is comfortable for your body.