Posted: 26/06/2015 at 11:41
Absolutely Rick. To run your best marathon you need to be fresh / without fatigue. You also need to have really good endurance obtained through a full block of structured training ticking all the right boxes. If you want to get it fast you have to do the speed work. So many things to balance in a 16 week training plan!
You do anything hard it hurts your muscles, you do anything long it hurts your muscles. You finish a week's training and you have to get straight on it the following week. Tailoring the plan so that you are able to maintain the training takes some thought. I wrote a plan out a few weeks back, but I've hardly looked at it, but I'm at the stage where I know when to back off. This week. I've been plodding early on, to help get the fatigue of the previous two weeks training (4 short fast races & a long run & general miles) out of the system. I know I have quality sessions coming (tonight) and Sunday. I'll then need to "recover" on Monday so that I can do the Tuesday track session effectively. Then I'll need to recover again from that and get myself through to next Sunday and still keeping the general miles ticking over.
Sticking to the plan exactly can be pressurising and be slightly risky. I prefer to look at the previous few weeks and the coming few weeks and make sure I'm getting the quality in and general miles and conditioning myself to maintain it week to week. I've digressed slightly but my point is there isn't all that much space and time for quality "rest" in a marathon training plan - 8 hours could be the rest, So doing the recovery runs (and some walks) is the rest. Getting the legs feeling OK to do the next session. The real rest will come in the taper, when you can shorten down to 3 to 4 running days a week.
I will occasionally take a 2 or 3 day break if I feel I'm overcooking it. That doesn't mean i'll try to "make up" for lost miles. That's a dangerous thing to do.