For the first time runner resting can be a complicated issue.  First time runners sometimes attack running full steam ahead, running 7-10 days straight to find themselves hurting shortly after.  They may also find themselves taking unnecessary rest periods of 2-3 days with nothing else to supplement their activity.  Any signs of significant progress are then few and far between.

Importance of Resting:

When the body does strenuous activity is essentially breaking down muscle tissue to allow the muscles to repair themselves stronger.  And/or it is taxing one of the body’s energy system enough to where the body makes necessary adaptation for better efficiency.  (It’s just making you tougher.)  If something is consistently broken down with no time to repair, the breakdown becomes detrimental.  The body becomes weaker instead of stronger predisposing the body to injuries, both acute and overuse.  Rest is just as important as the exercise.  Overtraining is just as important an issue as undertraining.

How much resting (not taking into account resistence training)?

The amount of rest needed is not a set science and varies from person to person.  With that being said, learn your body and how it responds.  Also understand, there are more ways than your way or my way that are just as effective.  Here is a sample run schedule and by no means the end all be all of run schedules.  The more you run, the better you understand your body and you then find the best schedule for you.

Day1: run

Day 2: run

Day 3: core/yoga/pilates/stretch (no run, recovery day)

Day 4 run

Day 5  light run/cardio (spin class, rowing etc.)

Day 6: run

Day 7: no run (optional anything: spin class, rowing, working out, or nothing)