Relax! It’ll make you faster. Better yet, it’ll make you a better person. This is the topic of The Runner’s Guide to Yoga, my recovery video series at Competitor Running, and this essay:
Seasonality and cyclicality are engrained in our bodies, from the annual trip around the sun to the monthly cycle of the moon to the diurnal rhythm of day and night and on into smaller periods of alertness and sluggishness we experience every few hours. In each of these swings, the down periods are just as critical as the up periods. Do you have enough down in your training plan?
Rest and recovery need to be built into your training—not only in the offseason, but throughout the year. This happens on both the micro and the macro levels. Each day should have some downtime; each week should have lighter days—and probably one full rest day; each month should have a lighter week; each year should have a lighter month (or more); and across many years, there should be a lighter year for every few harder ones. Many of us push, push, push, and don’t plan for the periods when we can stop pushing.