Rest Days... or not???

We all know the benefit of rest days when starting out on the C25K program and everyday you can read advice supplied to people just starting out to slow down and always take a rest day between their runs.

But, as time goes on and you've completed a few races and got some miles in the bank I am finding that I can run with far fewer rest days. I wouldn't necessarily consider myself as a highly experienced runner, but I do understand my body and when it needs a break and I also understand the need to taper before a race.

I am finding that I am probably only taking 2 totally rest days per week and the other days are a mixture of intervals, long runs, gym work and gentle plods just to get out for an hour in the countryside. I also plan my week such that I don't have two "hard" days back to back.

Interested to hear about other peoples weeks and what your thoughts are on rest days?? 

Happy running :-)

13 Replies

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  • I have run every day since Jan 1st.

    I know this goes contrary to most recommendations, but I do make a point of making sure I use different muscles on consecutive days!  I do some controlled slow runs (hard discipline to learn, but highly recommended) where I run at a low heart rate (VERY slow, but it's amazing how this type of training really does improve your stamina) and mix these with interval runs, parkrun and a long run each week.  If I have a race on, or any slight niggles, then I will drop the mileage, but otherwise I will try to run 3-5 miles a day.  The really important thing is to listen to your body.  It will tell you if you need a break!

  • Thanks for that reply,  very interesting . I think knowing your own limits and body are key. Not currently running every day, as life gets in the way, but very impressed with your running week. I do like the idea of a controlled slow run, sounds like my plod in the country with no pace or distance expectations. 

  • Running to a low hr really does use different muscles!  I often come back much stiffer from an enforced slow run than I do from a 10k race. I do try to build in some other activities (swimming once a week, bike riding now the evenings are lighter and some core work).  It helps that I only work 3 days a week!

  • I believe these "RunStreaks" as the hip people are calling are not the best idea.  I think everyone needs a rest day's to let your muscles relax and give you time repair. 

    But i think as people become a more mature runner you can cut down your rest day's i will always make sure i have one rest day.  That's from cycling, running or swimming or anything really. 

    But listen to your body it will tell you.

    PS my longest runstreak is 6days!   

  • I think as you get fitter, "rest" days can be replaced by "recovery" days; where you are still active but you're not pushing yourself too hard. For example, you could do a 5km run at an easy pace during the recovery days and interval training, long runs, runs at race speed, etc. during the "active" days.

    Anyway I think it is important to add proper rest days once in a while, in order to avoid over-exertion.

  • Interesting question Andy, i currently still stick to the same regime running days wise I did from c25k although I did run every day from Christmas day to new years day without any adverse affects. 

    Stangely i have been thinking about adding an additional running day so I would run 4 days a week , i dont do any other exercise  work though, which again I keep saying I  should but never really get round to 😐

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that for us "more mature" runners it is about the quality not the quantity that counts .

  • The great marathon runner Ron Hill has run at least a mile every day since 20th December 1964 and he still going strong at 77 years old.

  • I think I still need the rest days and if I've pushed myself 2 days. MIght do something else those days but not running. However, I also find if I don't get out and run every couple of days my joints start to complain.

  • People say running knackers your joints, but like you I find if I don't do anything my knees protest! 

  • The advice I've read is to have one rest day a week, so once you're an injury-free experienced runner, I expect you can work towards that. I've been thinking it makes sense for me to run both Sat and Sun because I have the time then and so little time in the week. At some stage I will try that which would be 4x week. Can't easily fit in more than that. If you want to, maybe slowly build up to 6 x week but don't make every run a punishing one.

  • Interesting posts. I was used to running 3 days a week, plus an outdoor 'boot camp' style fitness class on a Saturday, plus cycling to work (approx 3 miles) maybe 3 days a week. For my marathon training I upped the runs to 4 a week, but in the end had to cut the Saturday fitness class as the Sunday runs got longer! I think it depends on how you feel, to increase slowly, and to mix it up in terms of types of exercise. That might mean just running - but maybe as agedsnailspace says doing different types of run. 

  • I am still sticking to the regime I adopted after graduating.  4 runs a week with 3 rest days.  Touch wood I have stayed injury free and don't want to push my luck.  

  • I  normally run every other day, so 3 one week, and 4 the next. I have been known to go out on consecutive days, if the weather is conducive, say, but I would do a shorter run on those days.

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