Why take an annual break?

If you run two or three times per week and you have chronometric or distance-based goals, then you will need to take an annual break. But rather than talking about an annual break, it would be better to talk in terms of annual breaks.


For physical recuperation

To prepare for a race, you will do many MAS sessions, threshold training, long sessions, trek runs, etc. that you will perform during long periods of preparation. This work brings you progress, but can also end up tiring your body. The body needs to recuperate from these multiple training sessions.

How many cases of tendinitis, muscular injuries, or more serious fractures could be avoided? By giving your body the time to heal from small benign injuries but which could degenerate into real injuries.These injuries will force you to take breaks that you have not chosen, will always come at the wrong moment and can be of an uncertain duration. These periods of injury are often very difficult to cope with.


For mental regeneration

It is useful to avoid sport for a few days and get back to your social life, which when you are passionate about your sport can often suffer, sometimes you can be too committed and need to take a step back! This is the perfect chance to share with your loved ones who support you throughout the year some well-deserved down-time which you may have been neglecting.

Your motivation can also be challenged by difficult sessions or by training in poor weather conditions. Great mental strength is also necessary for pushing your limits exceeding your best performances on the day of the competition that you have prepared and dreamed about for these past months.

For runners over 55, it is preferable to take shorter breaks, because it seems that it is more difficult to make up your level at this age.


When is the best time to take a break?

If you have your season well organised, you should have two major goals per year (especially if you are a long distance runner).You will therefore take a break after each of the major goals or fitness peaks have been reached.


How long should each break last?

Two or three weeks break seems to be a good amount. Spend 10 days or so without doing any sport. Then, you can take up a very gentle activity once again, but this should be a non-intense sport, for example, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, hiking, etc. Depending on your mood, you can also combine these different sports practices, this will be even more beneficial.

Finally, you can return to sport by doing endurance running over very modest distances (45 mins to 1 hour max) for 1 more week, before starting on new challenges. You will return to real training at the end of the third week.


Return to training

When you return to training for a new goal, you are at risk in the first few days of complaining because you are starting back at a lower level. But as the days and weeks or even years go by, you will appreciate the benefits of these little holidays and you will be all the more able to achieve new targets and who knows, perhaps even be first over the finish line in your race!


You should no longer be in any doubt: training is essential in order to make progress, but always keep in mind that rest is an integral part of that training.

Enjoy the break!