It is said that an important part of a training plan is the time taken to rest. That it is during this rest period when improvements are made, when the muscles have time to repair and strengthen.

The questions are;

What is classed as a rest day? (Resting the heart or resting the muscles and joints used in running) and How often do these rest days need to be carried out? (on a weekly basis or over a longer period)

As much as possible I try to never run 2 days in a row. If it is necessary (due to other constraints) then I try to make the second run 100% Endurance (around 70% MHR). I've heard of some people who run 6 days a week with just 1 rest day. Maybe this depends on the level of the runner or the long experience in running?

Sometimes a rest day could also be a completely different low impact sport (cycling, swimming...), considered to be forms of rest because they give the joints and muscles commonly used in running a break.

A typical week for me at the moment is;

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Interval training 1hr15 (speed + strength upto 105% MHR)

Wednesday - Rest or occasionally road bike 1 hr

Thursday - Endurance run (70% - 75% MHR) 1hr30 - 2hr

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Run 1h30 (Resistance work - 85% - 95% MHR)

Sunday - Endurance run 1hr or road bike 2hr

Over a year do people also have rest periods of a week or longer when they don't do any running or any physical activity? And if so what is the maximum length of this rest period before starting to lose muscle strength and endurance?

Very interested to hear what other people are up to.




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I agree with your assertions about rest, Eric emphasizes rest especially in his speed/strength program.  When I was doing a couple of earlier programs I did them exactly to the letter which was not good.  I eventually had the luck to get slightly injured which forced me to take some rest and I actually came back stronger.  I also took a week and a half off around Xmas time which did me a world of good.  By focusing on rest along with quality workouts, my mile time has dropped from 12:01 to under 9 (not a speed demon by any stretch but it is fast for me).  I just try to listen to my body and interpret what it is saying. 

great questions Kirk.  Rest is so important, just as important as key intense days.  As recovery is when your body rebuilds and gets stronger. 

And rest/recovery comes in many important forms: rest interval between work intervals; easy active recovery days; complete days off; and time off within your run season.  As I always take a break in Nov. to help my body recoup and regenerate mentally for the next season.

REST DAY = either a complete day off or active recovery with efforts equal to 50-65%.  VERY easy and most people do not run this easy enough.  One of my top 5 running mistakes listed on my Tweet posts.

HOW OFTEN - depends on your schedule and experience/goals.  Most of my Personal Coached runners run 5-7 days per week.  Most will have at least one day off completely and have 1-2 other days of active recovery.


As I mentioned above, it is also very important to take the appropriate amount of rest between intervals.  So for your Tuesday interval run at 105% you should be at equal or more rest to work.


Hope this helps - E

Thanks for the reply Eric, very helpful.

Just one question, how long do you take off in Novemeber and is it a complete break from sport or just running?

Thanks again.

I took about 4 weeks off from running.  Fall is a great time of year to run in the mountains, so I hit it hard during that time.  So once November hits I am ready for some time off.  I find this to be a rejuvenation time mentally more than anything, reflecting on the year and planning the next.

I always look to improve my foot/leg/core strength, so I spent a fair amount of my days working on this during November and December.  The DVD training system is almost complete, so look for that sometime in April.



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