The most important thing I tell newer runners is to listen to your body. If you’re sore and you feel like you need a day off, take it. I was asked, “Should I run six days a week? The plan says five but I’m used to running six,” I respond with “listen to your body”. If your body feels okay, go for it.
It’s not just new runners that need this advice. One of my training partners is frequently battling one kind of injury or another. He recently explained to me his workout schedule and I told him he needs to do a better job fitting in rest days. Going hard three days in a row is asking for it. He wants to get faster and I explained that the rest days are nearly as important as your hard days. If your body feels like crap the day after a run, it’s trying to tell you something.
Yes, I follow my own advice. I scheduled myself to run 7 miles this morning but after running mile repeats at 10k pace last night, my calves were pretty beat up. (I’m still building back strength after all that time off) So instead I rode the bike for 45 minutes. If I have time tonight I’ll throw in some more crosstraining or a short run. You have to be able to look at the bigger picture. I’m running a 10k this weekend. I can either jam my miles in or I can run a decent race. The race is meant to be an indicator of my current fitness, so I have something to base my workouts on. That means it’s important that I run up to my ability.
Your body can do some amazing things. Listen to it when you’re training, you can ignore it when you’re racing.