Alright, listen up! You CAN take a day off from running without losing your fitness and becoming a born again couch potato. I know you’re worried about missing your next workout, deviating from your training plan, or feeling like a quitter. But, seriously, get over yourself.

I’m as guilty as anyone of pushing too hard, too soon, and too often. That’s why I’m sitting here with my left foot in a boot, typing this article as my crutches lean against the wall behind me. Take it from an injured runner, a day off could save you from weeks of pain and misery down the road.

Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon Finish
Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

If you’re a competitive runner, you know that running through discomfort is required to run faster and longer. But, RUNNING THROUGH PAIN IS NOT. At the first sign of pain, whether it’s sharp, dull, throbbing, zinging, pulling, or intermittent you need to stop. Take a day or two off, ice, rest and think about recent changes you’ve made to your running program.

Related: 5 Signs You Need a Rest Day

Regular life gets in the way too. If you’re not sleeping well, stressed out at work, going through a rocky relationship, or feeling down, your running will suffer. Body and mind work in tandem, and both mental and physical stress can impact performance. Of course, running may also be the way that you find peace in trying times. So, follow your gut. Just remember it’s okay to take a day off from running and nap instead.

It's OK to take a day off from running. Yes, it's really OK. Click To Tweet

Nobody is going to clap for you, and ring cowbells on your training run before work. You’re not going to disappoint your tweeps if you take a day off and miss a chance to post another selfie with a mileage update. The cold, hard truth is that you’re alone out there. Running is a gift you give yourself.

sandiego1
Sand Diego Rock’n’Roll Half 2013

So, run strong and work hard if you enjoy that sort of thing. But, don’t risk it all for the sake of a run streak or a perfect training plan. Enjoy the miles and when injury, stress, or fatigue come knocking at your door let them in and learn from them. Otherwise they’ll burn your house down. ?

Thoughts?