Take a break or keep training?

Valentin Belz 30. October 2019

Should I or is it better not to? This question is not so much about training in autumn, but rather about taking a break. Because after demanding a great deal from our body and mind all year long, we all but owe it this. Besides our routine and “fear” of a drop in performance, this decision is hampered by the attractive autumn and city runs on the one hand, and the beauty of autumn, on the other. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile taking a break for the following reasons:

1. Physical and mental relaxation

Even if your activation and regeneration systems are in a healthy balance throughout the year, it is good for both your body and mind to occasionally break out of your regular routine and activate the parts of your body in different ways by changing the movement patterns.

2. Repair damage

During the training phase, the musculoskeletal system is constantly subjected to small injuries. Since the time between the individual training units is usually too short, these injuries are not fully able to heal completely and thus accumulate throughout the year. Those who consciously take a break give their musculoskeletal system the ability to repair the damage and thereby lay the foundations for higher load stimuli.

3. Regulate your hormone levels

Those who take a break can bring their hormone levels back into balance. Training means stress. Especially when you have to combine it with your work and family life. The body responds with an increased production of stress hormones, which can get out of hand and weaken both your immune system and resilience in the long run.

4. Regain your motivation

A break will help you to regain your motivation and mental readiness to perform, making your training easier again. You don’t, by the way, need to worry that the break will prevent you from reaching your level of performance again. The body literally stores your previous performance capability and achieves it again after a few weeks of specific training.


These tips will ensure your break is a success

  1. Schedule a fixed 3-4 week break in your annual planning. The most sensible time is after your target race for the season.
  2. Training - if at all - should be done at maximum 20-30% of your normal overall scope.
  3. During your break, deliberately do things that you otherwise never have time for.
  4. Avoid simply filling this time with additional working hours.
  5. After the training break, carefully increase the frequency, scope and intensity and give yourself enough time before you get involved in the competition scene again.