Do people actually incorporate rest weeks into their training plans ?
For the last few weeks I have been following a 'proper' training plan and as such feel a lot better and stronger for it. I am really enjoying running this way and just want to run as often as possible.I understand the need to have periods of rest (I currently have 2 rest days a week) but am actually looking to increase my weekly mileage from 35-40 up to 50+. I would be interested to hear how often other people have a 'rest week' in their training plans ? How much do you reduce your weekly mileage by during a rest week ?
I'm around the 50+ miles a week mark but only take one rest day a week.
I can't say that I take rest weeks. But I refuse to run on my annual summer holiday (10-14 days) and I can often go a few days without training over Christmas holidays.
I do often put on 5 pounds or so during these phases and I do feel sluggish on returning to training. But there are probably benefits long term regarding tendon/muscle repair etc.
I don't have rest weeks within my plans, but I do tend to take it easy for a couple of weeks after completing one plan before starting the next one. Depending on how the race at the end of the plan has gone, this may be a few days rest and then just a couple of weeks of unstructured running at an easy pace or even just a couple of runs spread out over the following weeks.
Whilst I enjoy following plans, and even completing interval sessions etc, by the time I've completed a 12 - 18 week plan I need to have a little time to just relax and ignore the garmin etc.
I see. To be fair I'm forever trying to continuously improve, I don't do training in blocks. That said, I will taylor my training to certain races. In October I was focussing on 10K, therefore alot of my quality work was race pace time trial based. But my last race last week was a speedy 1.75 mile road run, so I stepped up the speedwork.
After a race I'll normally junk food and beer it for a day or two......then its back to business.
My focus right now is on improving my mile time. I did a lovely 16 x 200m sprints yesterday. Legs are a bit sore today!!
Training plans will often incorporate 'cut back' or recovery weeks where you maintain the number of sessions but there is some reduction in intensity and/or mileage during that week. The plans I recently used had a 12 - 15% reduction in mileage on the previous week. These came every 4 or 5 weeks.
It is a bit confusing because I always thought you recover from injury and rest during days off. But now I gather runners tend to only rest when they are suffering with an injury, and recover when easing up a bit after consecutive weeks of hard training. Perhaps rest days or longer periods of not running don't come into it when you are fit? But experts advice I've read is to always respect days asigned for rest, while recovery weeks (running on average less than you're used to) will ideally finish with a race of a shorter distance than you're training for.
Sunday is my rest day, it follows my long weekly run on Saturdays (currently 15 miles)......and I must admit I do tend to eat a fair bit in order to refuel and recharge the legs.
Mondays and Thursdays are my quality days and often involve punishing hill reps, quick 5 mile tempo runs or speedy reps work. I often follow these days with what are known as recovery runs. In my case they'll be between 8 & 8:30 pace......and their purpose is simply to stimulate the aerobic system, keep the heart rate in the correct zone and get blood to the muscles to help with recovery.
Rest days and easy days are ridiculously important for repair and eventual improvement. One or two rest weeks a year can really help recharge the mental batteries too.
The only issue for an athlete wanting to reach their potential is that if you take too many rest days a week, it limits the amount of mileage you can do. There does seem to be a correlation between increasing weekly miles and resulting competence as you get close to your potential. Much as I'd like to get away with just 2 quality days and 1 long run weekly, I would probably hit a plateau and race times would stagnate. Those recovery runs and slow easy runs really help keep the cardio/aerobic system in check. They also help you keep your weight down!
Newcomers shouldn't start with 6 training days a week though. People need to build up over a number of weeks and months.
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