Back to the articles

Why is rest so important?

Rest is an essential component of the super compensation model. Supercompensation is a physiological concept that describes the process of the body adapting to physical stress. It is the process where the body rebuilds and improves itself after stress, and it consists of three phases:

  1. The initial stress or training phase: This is when the body is subjected to a specific stress, such as endurance exercise. This phase causes fatigue and muscle damage.
  2. The recovery or rest phase: This is the phase where the body begins to repair and rebuild itself, in response to the initial stress. The body uses this time to replenish energy stores, repair muscle tissue, and adapt to the stress in order to improve performance.
  3. The supercompensation phase: This is the phase where the body has fully recovered and adapted to the initial stress. The body is now in a state of improved performance and is ready for the next training session.

Here are a few reasons why rest is important for endurance athletes:

  • Muscle recovery: During endurance exercise, muscles are damaged and fatigued. Rest allows the body to repair and rebuild muscle tissue, which can improve muscle endurance and power.
  • Energy replenishment: Endurance exercise depletes energy stores in the muscles, and rest allows the body to replenish these stores through proper nutrition and hydration.
  • Reduced risk of injury: Overtraining can lead to fatigue, muscle strain, and other injuries. Rest allows the body to recover from the wear and tear of training, reducing the risk of injury.
  • Improved performance: Adequate rest and recovery can help improve overall performance, allowing you to train harder and perform better in races and competitions.
  • Mental recovery: Endurance training can be mentally demanding, rest allows the mind to recover and be ready for the next training session.

It's important to note that rest doesn't just mean sleep, it also includes taking days off from training, active recovery, stretching and foam rolling, and adequate nutrition and hydration. A good balance between rest and training, will lead to steady progress and improvement in an athlete's performance.