Today on the Doc On The Run podcast were talking about how rest is an atrophy plan.
If you want to let your running fitness wither away, the plan is simple…do nothing. Think about it.
Can you get faster by not running?
Can get stronger by not working out?
If you’re a runner and you’re listening to this my guess is that you’re clear answer to both of those two questions is “NO!”
And if your answer both of those questions is no…
Why do doctors call rest a treatment plan?
The brutal truth is that rest is not a treatment plan. Rest is an atrophy plan.
Rest is a waiting-around-to-die plan.
Runners thrive on activity.
Runners recover best through action and activity.
Would you expect to set a new marathon PR if you stopped working out and focused only on rest? When you think about it that way it sounds a little absurd don’t you think?
Every issue in your body, every muscle, every bone, every tendon and ligament, every day, is either getting stronger or weaker based on the stressors you apply to it or the stresses you do not apply to it.
The goal with recovering from an overtraining injury is to make sure that you are appropriately applying stresses to the tissues that are not damaged and are not injured so that they can become stronger and better support that one injured piece of tissue that needs to recover.
At the same time you need to deliberately decrease the amount of stress applied to that one injured metatarsal bone or your Achilles tendon or your peroneal tendon or whatever else is injured so that it can fully rest, heal and repair itself and become strong enough to withstand the forces of running.
None of that happens just by sitting on the couch.
You will not become a stronger runner without thoughtful analysis and the development of a specific plan of action.
You cannot heal as fast as possible unless you do the exact same thing. You need to think about what you really need to do and then come up with a plan to do it so you can start healing.
If you rest for weeks on end the only thing you get is weaker.
After years of lecturing to doctors at medical conferences and helping injured runners start to recover when they stagnate, the one thing I have learned more than anything else is that the runners who get back to running faster are those who take what they have learned in training and apply it to their healing to create an active recovery plan.
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