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Rest Days

  • 28-02-2022 11:01am
    Registered Users Posts: 8,079 ✭✭✭

    This Friday will see the beginning of the end of another running streak (1 year).

    I've been doing some reading and thinking about how I approach the rest of the year as an older runner with some niggles that have been difficult to shake fully.

    What I've learned personally is that 2 full days of recovery between hard sessions allow me to recover and minimize flare-ups and that potentially a regular full day rest day could be beneficial.

    With this in mind, I will be experimenting with a 9-day cycle. Each cycle will include 2 sessions, 1 long run and 1 rest day, plus 4 easy days, some doubles.

    Where there seems to be conflicting information is where it is best to place your rest day, after a hard day or before a hard day? Open to hearing what has worked from the Boardies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,412 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Interesting - I've dabbled with adapting different approaches (mainly JD, which had a good few scary looking sessions) into a 9-day approach before, but I never really followed through on the idea.

    FWIW the Hanson approach I used a good few times in recent years had one rest day, and placed it on the Weds between the Tues (speed/strength) and Thurs (race pace) sessions - so effectively both before AND after a hard day. I always found myself looking forward to this rest day and it certainly didn't impinge on the tempo day which immediately followed. Two easy days then before the long run.

    Worked for me and a few training buddies anyway. I do like the 9-day idea though, so interested to see how it works for you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭Wottle

    Great question, I've been super impressed with your streaks. I believe we started one around the same time in April 2017. I ran every day till April 2018 and what I realised for me was that rest days were super important. I also probably wasn't strong enough at the time for such an endeavour.

    I coach a number of masters runners, one of which would be very competitive on the national scene. Her training cycle looked like:

    Mon - rest

    Tue - easy

    Wed - easy with strides

    Thur - session (10k/10M pace)

    Fri - recovery

    Sat - easy with or without strides

    Sun - long run with session (half/MP pace). The following week is a longer easy run, no session.

    Total 45 to 50 miles.

    I've no doubt she'd run Monday if prescribed but I just feel it's worked well and helps with motivation for the coming week. The reason for a recovery run on the Friday after a session, is to get the sluggishness out of the system. If she took Friday as a rest, Saturday can feel like a sluggish run and I'd rather that happen on the Friday, Saturday's run then feels good, leaving her confident to attack Sunday and not doubting how she's feeling.

  • Registered Users Posts: 726 ✭✭✭athlone573

    Well I find rest days after a hard (er) day work best

    As that means I'm training the legs to run slightly tired which is good mental training too

    Typical week would be

    Monday rest

    Tuesday easy

    Wednesday tempo or 1k repeats

    Thursday rest

    Friday strides

    Saturday rest or cross training, hiking /swimming

    Sunday long

    I don't particularly enjoy the long runs so having the day off after is nice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    I think where you place it physiologically doesn't make too much difference. It comes down to the person and lifestyle habits. What do you constitute as a rest day?

    If you are a person who uses an off day to mentally switch off, let loose, enjoy a few beers/takeaway etc then putting it the day after a session is not going to give the recovery benefits you are after. It might be more beneficial to have day before session (with the view of it keeping you sensible or at least modifying the session based on how you are feeling)

    If your rest day is a day of diverting focus to some other aspect of your life that might be ignored a bit with training then probably makes sense the day after so you aren't doing anything manual or choirs etc taking away from the session.

    It's a person thing I think so I would advise you to look at how the rest day fits in with overall lifestyle moreso than the training side

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,844 ✭✭✭✭average_runner

    Just looking at the posts above, just one hard session a week?

    I currently do something like this and I am mid 40's :(:

    Mon -- 10k Run Medium pace

    Tues 5 x 1ks

    Wed Off

    Thurs 5 x 1 mile with 1 min rec (Tempo)

    Fri 8-10k easy

    Sat/Sun 16k easy pace

    Is this over doing it?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭Wottle

    My example above would be 3 sessions over a 2 week period (if you don't count the easy long run as a session). The woman in question ran a master's half marathon national record in the o55 category a couple of months back.

    I'd say consistency trumps the amount of sessions and this has kept her injury free for last 4/5 years and still on an upward trajectory.

    I've no idea, if that's you overdoing it or finding what works for you. What's your progression like and injury history?

    Is there a need for the medium paced run on the Monday, possible grey zone?

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,079 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

    The purpose of the rest day is an opportunity to allow the body to recover and adapt, previously this would have been a 30-45 active recovery run, now it will be a zero run day. That's not to say no activity happens, the dogs still need to be walked and there will probably be some light activation work.

    Reading some more there seems to be 2 trains of thought, 1) a set specific day each week, a Sunday for example or 2) a when you think you need one approach. 2 requires discipline but is probably makes the most sense. I think I will try this and hold myself accountable to taking regular rest days when needed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,844 ✭✭✭✭average_runner

    The Monday medium was an easy run, but in my old plan before covid i had it as a medium pace.

    This plan worked before covid, during covid alot happened. Older now also, so maybe i need to keep an eye on it more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,844 ✭✭✭✭average_runner

    How would you describe the thursday session, is it a mixture of tempo intervals etc?

    Also the session on a Sunday that is not a easy run?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭Wottle

    The week she has two sessions, the Thursday would mainly be 10 mile race pace, reps could be 4 or 5x1 mile off 3 or 4 mins jogging, 6x1koff 2 or 3 mins or 8x800m off a 2 minutes. We use fartlek a lot too, especially if still a bit tired a week or two after a race. And by Fartlek, I mean proper unstructured fartlek, she will decide the pace and length of reps and recoveries in the moment. This means how she's feeling is dictating the session.

    The run itself is about 10 miles (16k). I give a ball park figure for recoveries as I feel it promotes good form, no straining.

    The Sunday session would be half to marathon pace, depending on Thursday, but might look like 12/13 miles with 2x3 miles at Marathon pace of a 1 mile jog recovery. Lots of our sessions are on a 1 mile loop in marlay, helps with pace and rhythm.

    The following week, Thursday would be similar but can be a little more aggressive with paces and can work down to 10k pace, knowing that Sunday is just your standard long and easy, anywhere between 12 & 15 miles.

    And occasionally that Thursday can become a VO2 workout, especially if 10 days out from a 5k or 10k race. 6x3 mins off 1 minute standing recovery.

    So we work a lot at threshold and raising the LT line, working either side of the magic line but I'd call a lot of the workouts strength.

    When she took running up initially (before me), she spent a lot of time at 800/1500 and we stay in touch with that through strides mainly.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,844 ✭✭✭✭average_runner

    That's a great read. So you believe in more threshold training than vo2 session every week.

    Can see how that is less stressful with the longer recovery.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad

    The session-rest-rest module is great for older runners. When I used it I also had a 3 day 'niggle' module. So I often had a low mileage 3 days (often one without running) if niggle required.

    Anyway, with the caveat that stress = total daily stress which includes non running:

    Recovery day should be the day where the body does most adaption to the session. The day after.

    If it was a big session and you were overdue a recovery day you could do an easy jog day 1 after followed by a day off.

    Goal is to RECOVER. That varies for the person but IMO should be the day after.

    With the 3 day modules you could have a recovery module: session-jog-off every 4-6 modules?

    Normal 3 day module for me is: Day 1: Session - Day 2: rec/very easy - Day 3 easy

    If you had a particularly important session or were in the part of your season where you had to hit the session paces then you might go

    Day1: very easy Day2: very easy recovery Day 3: off : Day 4 session or easy if needing more recovery.

    I always like to do some running day before session as I feel off otherwise. That varies for people I think.

  • Registered Users Posts: 726 ✭✭✭athlone573

    I'm not sure if that was directed at me but anyhow.

    I'm a similar age but only doing maybe two thirds of the mileage (35km instead of the 55-60km you seem to be doing, and 4 not 5 days a week).

    It's not for me to say if you're doing too much but I will say, I started following the Garmin coach 10k programme 6 months ago or so, and I have never felt stronger (except in my 20s when I was training 5 days a week including biking), the coach usually has one hard hard session (such as 1k repeats). What has limited my injuries is the long "Easy" runs, base mileage.

    I dont find the stride sessions hard as I have a natural turn of speed, and enjoy them. But two properly hard sessions would be too much for me I think.

    What would be your race targets? I'm working down towards a 45minutes 10k.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,844 ✭✭✭✭average_runner

    I be looking to get 42:ex for 10k and eventually push back towards 10 miles and half.

    I do wonder if my recovery time for mile repeats is too short, might be asking too much of myself. Something to look at for sure.

  • Registered Users Posts: 718 ✭✭✭Sandwell

    There's some very interesting discussion in this thread. In terms of a sustainable model for masters runners, I train with a masters group in our club and the framework our coach sketches out is based around a weekly Tuesday VO2 max session and either a Thursday tempo session or a weekend long run including 4-6 tempo miles. If you do the Thursday session then the weekend long run should be steady to easy, nothing too intense. It's up to the individual to fit in their own easy running and days off (if taken) around those guidelines but I think it's a pretty good model as if you feel you need an extra easy day or two of recovery then you simply shift the tempo run around.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭Wottle

    Hi BeepBeep

    Looks like the rest days are agreeing with you. How have you found them?

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,079 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

    Probably too early to say, I've had 2!

    But I've settled on a 10-day plan, with flexibility built in if I have a race coming up.

    The plan is largely Session, MSR, Easy, Session, MSR, Easy, Session, LSR, Easy, Easy, Recovery/Rest.

    The flexibility will be that I will build in a rest day on race day minus 2.