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When I decided to start training to run a full marathon in early 2007, making sure I had enough rest days built into my running schedule was an important consideration for any marathon training schedule that I looked at. When I wasn’t training to run the marathon, I would just take off days when I felt like it: mostly if I was over tired, or I just didn’t feel up to it mentally. But I knew training for such a big event as a marathon would take a lot out of me, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t injure myself by over training.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you must run everyday, or at least do some sort of cross training on your rest days. But it’s really important to just rest sometimes, and that means doing as little as possible.
I knew I was putting my body through quite a workout during the week, and mentally I relished my day of rest! My problem was finding the right day to rest. With the marathon training program that I chose, I scheduled my long runs for Tuesday and a shorter long run on Thursday. So I took Fridays off as my rest day. I would do a very short recovery run on Wednesday after my long run on Tuesday. As I look back on it now, I can see that it wasn’t a very good running schedule for me, as it was originally designed for the long run to take place on a Sunday with the shorter long run 4 day later, not two days later like I was doing with my revised marathon training schedule.
Since training for my first marathon, I have found a better running schedule: one that I may put into use here soon. This more ideal marathon training schedule I found, is called “The Marathon Method Essential Guide to Training for Your First Marathon” by Joe Donovan, and I like the fact that most of the runs are short, no more then 6 miles not including a weekly long run that eventually ends up at its longest at 20 miles. The marathon training schedule I used to train for my first marathon had the longest run at 23 miles.
Now that I have done some more reading and studying, I have discovered that many marathon training programs recommend not going over 20 miles as your longest run. This new marathon training program that I found makes more sense to me. It’s all about the long runs, and after all that is the goal: to run 26.2 miles all at once. And the other runs are keeping you loose and getting you stronger for that all important long run during the week. I’ve heard it said that the marathon is just a bunch of 6 mile runs mashed together. So it may be helpful if you can think of it as little bite size chunks when you’re running the marathon.
So with shorter marathon training runs during the week, one good rest day will do a world of good, giving your body the much needed recovery time. You will be amazed how well you will feel the following day when you head out the door for your next training run!
How ‘bout it?