I’m often asked by non-runners, “do you run every day?” Like they think that to ever get to the point to be able to run eight miles on the weekend or two miles on Wednesday, that I must have to run every single day. I answer their question fervently with a “heck no!”
In the last couple of years of running, aside from bigger breaks after races, I take 2-3 days a week off from running. Forget #MondayMotivation and #NeverMissAMonday. Mondays follow the weekend’s long run so it’s a perfect rest and recovery day before Tuesday’s speed work. Lately, I’ve been doing hot yoga on Mondays, anyways.
Then Wednesdays are lower mileage than Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sometimes I add yoga or some other workout video to cross-train. Thursdays are longer than Wednesdays but not longer than Tuesdays. I like my long run on Saturdays so that Fridays can be a rest day. Even if I plan a longer run or workout for Saturday, I add biking on Friday- something short so that I can still go out on a Friday and not wreck my hair! Ha!
Sundays are a day of rest, anyways. So Monday, Friday, and Sunday- three days a week I normally go without running. Two of which I do some kind of cross-training or strength building activity. So I most definitely do not run every day.
Runner’s World magazine has a great article on the importance of rest and recovery days that I actually completely agree with. The article explains it perfectly.
To start, yeah, some days I just am “not feeling it.” On those days, I procrastinate when I get home from work, sit and stare at my phone for an hour, change into running clothes, then stare at my phone for another 35 minutes, and then get my running shoes on, oh and look at the new magazine that came in the mail and eat a piece of chocolate. (Yes, a run-on sentence to emphasize how much I can procrastinate.) Then, maybe I finally head out the door. It might hit me and I feel great and it ends up being a rocking run! But I’m not going to lie – I’ve gone out two hours later than planned, went down the street a half mile and turned around – nope! Not today!
And if you have a day that you’re just not feeling it, then sure, there’s nothing wrong with taking a day off. It’ll do your body and your mind good. And chances are, you’ll be even more ready to run tomorrow. And not because you feel the need to make up loss miles.
The next thing I agree with, duh, your body needs low impact rest days for your muscles and tendons to recover (go to yin yoga). Maybe its my science background but this makes 100% sense. And I read the Hanson’s Marathon Method book which gives insight as to why and how their training plan is structured the way it is.
Another point- the run streakers. How the heck can Runner A possibly be on streak day 2,312 of consecutive running? No. Even if they do a minimum of one mile on a rest day at the slowest possible pace I gotta argue with them and say it can’t be any good for you to go that long without a real rest. But, hey, that’s my opinion. I’ll admit I’ve done a couple of #RWRunStreak but…
- When I last participated several years ago I was hardly training for anything
- If I looked back at my log book I’m willing to bet they consisted of 1- to 2-mile runs and at a max, were 3 miles
- I can’t do them anymore because I like rest days and I know that I need them
(If you do run streak, please tell me why and how many injuries and PRs you’ve had during it.)
Now that I’ll soon switch gears to marathon training, I may not be able to pull off my three rest recovery days a week. But know I’ll be taking full advantage of my one or two rest days each week. PS I am signed up for the Charlevoix Marathon in June!
How do you spend your rest and recovery days and how many days a week do you take off of running during training?