Do you take time off to avoid burning out?

Recently, I read an article in Runners World that advocated taking a little time off… and commenced to roll my eyes.  Time off is something no runner really likes, because inevitably, time off means taking a step back in your training.  It means slowing down, losing distance… and having to face the long hard road back.

But then I thought about it, is one step back maybe worth it if it results in two steps forward?

The author argued that forcing a scheduled break (for him, it was the whole summer) had kept him from burning out… since the rest of the year was spent training so hard.  The best part of the break was that by the time the summer was done, he could barely contain his desire to get back out there.

I realized that, in many ways, I already do this.  Because I’m a big old wimp and the summer heat kind of wrecks me, I usually slow things down.  We tend to train for and run the shorter races during this time… and once the summer is over, I’m craving the distance again.

Do you take breaks from the things you work hard on to avoid burning out?  I can think of a ton of examples that don’t involve running at all.

(Actually, I’ve employed this strategy a couple of times along the wedding planning road.)

Photo: From my first marathon… in the middle of winter.  What can I say?  I like to run in the cold.