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Should a track athlete train hard everyday or take regular rest days?

One of the most overlooked ways to improve performance and reduce injuries and burnout is regularly scheduled rest. The body cannot be pushed to the limit day after day without being allowed to recover and re-build. Neglecting to rest on a regular basis is one of the major reasons athletes get injured. Rest actually will allow the body to properly repair itself and increases the mental and physical performance of the athlete in practice and competition. After resting, the body will be able to handle greater training loads and intensities that would not have been possible without rest. Some signs that more rest may be needed in an athletes program would be chronic aching and soreness in the body, weight loss, irritability, poor concentration, extreme tiredness, poor performance, and frequent bouts of sickness.
Regular rest days are required to stay healthy.  When  a track athlete trains hard everyday there is more breakdown and stress on tissues than there is time to heal.  You need regular days off to build up and create the strength from those hard workouts.  To determine days off you need to consider, in season, off season, preseason, how often are the competitions and how many events are you participating in.  All of this will play a part in how often you need to train hard/rest to reduce your chance of over training, overuse injury, sprain, strain or stress fracture.

Recovery is just as critical to  the training effect as the training load itself. Without a proper recovery, any performance program  can not move forward without having a reversible effect. 

Any training program should have a balance between giving the athlete a challenging and progressive  overloads that will keep improving his fitness level and a recovery that restore the body from high training load.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.