I preach rest and recovery almost as much as I preach having a specific running schedule that builds you to your next goal. Training schedules are basically split into seasons, cycles and weeks. A season is a specific plan towards a goal about 4-5 months in the future. A cycle is a piece of that plan, usually about a month. Finally a week is just a piece of the cycle.
Rest and recovery are built into every good training week, cycle and season. For instance, I ran the Boston Marathon on April 20. I took a full week off and then built and just completed my 5K / fast race season. In this time I ran a Mud Run race, a 10K and 4 5K’s over a nine week period. I am taking the next week lightly and then beginning my training for the next big race, the Liberty Half on Sept 20, 11 weeks away. During all these seasons, every 4th week/cycle I build a slight decrease in miles (20% less) to give the legs a break. During each week I time my runs so that I have fast and slow days next to each other and/or long and short distance days next to each other.
Why so anal you might say….because a body reacts to rest with a nice rebound as the muscles have been given a chance to recover. Particularly as we get older, this comes into play as we don’t recover as fast as we did as when we were 21….so it is paramount that you allow yourself a chance to do this! Imagine if you went without sleep for 1 night – you drag the next day. Imagine if you went without sleep for weeks and weeks – you would be probably sick if not worse. That is how your muscles feel with perpetual exercise and no rest. The less rest, the more chance you have to get injured….and I haven’t even brought up the fact that you need good nutrition in the form of clean protein to help those muscles recover faster.
Please keep this in mind when you plan your next season…..
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