If you’ve ever found yourself pondering whether to hit the pavement despite feeling the fatigue in your legs or to give yourself a well-deserved break, you’re not alone. It’s a common conundrum that many runners face. 

Let’s dive into this age-old dilemma and explore some insights to help you navigate it with confidence.

Understanding Your Body’s Signals

One of the fundamental aspects of deciding whether to run on tired legs or rest is tuning in to your body’s signals. Your body has a remarkable way of communicating with you, and learning to decipher these signals can make all the difference in your running journey.

When your legs are feeling fatigued, take a moment to assess the situation. Are you simply experiencing the normal wear and tear of training, or is your body signaling that it needs a break? Pay attention to how you feel overall – if you’re feeling drained and depleted, it might be a sign that rest is in order.

The Role of Experience

Experience plays a significant role in navigating this dilemma. Over time, you’ll become more attuned to your body’s needs and better equipped to make informed decisions about when to push through and when to dial it back. Trust in the wisdom that comes with experience, but also be open to learning from each unique situation.

Balancing Act: Pushing Through vs. Resting

Finding the right balance between pushing through and resting is key to sustaining a healthy and enjoyable running routine. While it’s important to challenge yourself and push your limits, it’s equally important to prioritize rest and recovery to prevent burnout and injury.

If your legs are feeling a bit tired but the rest of you feels relatively okay, you might consider pushing through with a lighter workout or adjusting your pace to accommodate your fatigue. However, if your legs are screaming for a break and you’re feeling utterly depleted, don’t hesitate to give yourself the rest you need. Remember, there’s no shame in taking a day off to recharge – in fact, it’s often the smartest decision you can make for your long-term running success.

Tips for Making the Decision

Listen to your body: Pay attention to how you feel both physically and mentally. If you’re feeling overly fatigued or rundown, it’s likely a sign that rest is necessary.

Consider the type of fatigue: Normal muscle soreness from a tough workout is one thing, but persistent fatigue that impacts your ability to perform is another. Know the difference and adjust your training accordingly.

Prioritize recovery: Remember that rest is an essential component of any training program. Make sure to incorporate rest days into your schedule and listen to your body’s cues for when additional rest is needed.

In the end, the decision of whether to run on tired legs or rest ultimately comes down to listening to your body and honouring its needs. Trust in your instincts, lean on the wisdom of experience, and prioritize both challenge and recovery in your running journey. By finding the right balance between pushing through and resting, you’ll set yourself up for success on and off the road. Happy running!


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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