How much do you rest per week or between hard runs/races?

I've been running for - I don't know exactly - about 10 months and I train about four times per week.  I'm 42, slightly overweight, my furthest run has been 11 miles (hilly), I do one session of hill training per week, one easy run, one steady run, and one long run.

I'd like to do more, but I don't want to knack meself, however I did a race on Saturday (last leg of the Cotswold Way Relay; 10 miles and two big hills) and despite the two days rest I've had since then, my legs still feel tired.  I should be doing a hill session today, and I'd like to do it, but I'm unsure about my risk of injury.

So, can I ask you guys/gals, what is your attitude towards rest after hard runs/races?  Is two days enough, too much, or too little for someone who is probably between a beginer to intermediate level?



  • I'm not sure if I was you I would do a hill session today - would be tempted just to go out and do a very easy slow run to get the muscles loosened up a bit.

  • If I go all out in a 10 mile (or more) race I'd expect my legs to be a bit sore for a few days after. Normally I'd expect to be running on the Wednesday or Thursday following a Sunday race, it'd probably a short, slow run too. 

    I also think from a mental perspective it's good to have a few days off every now and then.


  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    If you did a hilly race, presumably running hard both up and down, would I be right ion saying that your quads (and calves?) are particularly sore?  I agree with Grendel, if you don't take another rest day, I'd just do an easy recovery run.  I generally feel that I earn extra easy/rest days after a hard race.

    If and when you fancied increasing your training load, just add extra easy running, cos you've got more than enough quality in there already.

  • Thanks all, and yes my quads still feel like they've got concrete in them; though my calves are okay.

    I'll have an easy recovery run then rest till Thursday - an evening race!!

    And that's a good tip about adding more by doing more easy/recovery runs.


  • if you don't feel up to running yet, a brisk long walk can be quite useful at loosening up the muscles without much impact.

  • There is a noticeable difference between a traing run of 10+ and race of the same, you will have run harder and probably above the perceived effort of any training run, hence the different ache in your muscles.  Personally I like to run the day after a race but it will be slow and if you need another day off after a race take it.  Schedules are for getting you to race day.

  • if your not running probably best to spend time do some stretching, it's the thing most begineers tend to ignore but it's one of the most important in terms of recovery and injury prevention

  • Gavlar CGavlar C ✭✭✭

    In May I did a marathon over 3 days, 10m 10m and 10k. I was sore for the very start of the second and third run but was ok after the first 1km but suffered very little in the way of DOMS after the weekend of races. Normally I tend to suffer on day 2 after a hard race but I now opt for a slow recovery run the day after...

  • Well, I did 7 miles easy, well it should've been easy but I used my heart rate monitor for the first time and set it L132 and H145 and my heart and lungs had no problems maintaining that, but my legs didn't feel too pleased at times; Saturday's race is still in them even after 48 hours.

    I thought 'easy' meant 'easy', but my heart rate monitor kept on going 'Bleep; run faster you lazy gimp!'.

    Anyway, no harm done, I've stretched, had a recovery drink, bathed and feel chilled and ready for dinner.

    Thanks guys/gals for the information.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Easy, is that hilly efforts bit a feature every week on your schedule? Or is it added when you have a hilly race coming up?

    Off 4 runs a week, and already doing a long run, and a steady run, I'd just wonder if there's a need to do a hilly session regularly at this stage? Could you do a couple of easy paced runs on top instead?

    I'd wager that gentle increase in mileage would bring your times down more than a weekly hill session, and certainly be less knackering.

  • Thanks, Stevie, I do a hill session once-a-week; I'm kinda attached to this because I used a grassed valley where I can take my dog and let him off the lead and he runs about with me (or not if he's feeling lazy).

    But just to clarify, are you suggesting the following:

    1 x long run

    1 x steady run

    2 x easy paced runs

    And add the hill session in at a later stage; maybe next year after my 1st marathon in Jan?

    I am always open to advice, so I will seriously consider it; my legs are tired; and I don't want an injury.

    How long would you suggest the easy paced runs be?


  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Easy...just a few questions first to give the whole picture...

    • what mileages do you do for the 4 weekly runs at the moment
    • what pace for each run
    • what days do you do these on
    • what structure to that hill session, reps, recoveries,pace, distance
    • what time did you do in that 10mile race?
    • any other recent race times?

    I'd imagine if your legs are often tired that you're running too hard or fast and not recovering enough, but let's read the answers first...

  • Okay, I'm kind of following a marathon training program, though I'm ahead of it - it doesn't kick in till about September for a January marathon; 

    But this is a normal week (which is a bit out of sync due to some races)

    Mon 5 miles steady

    Tue rest

    Wed Hill reps

    Thur Easy 3 miles

    Fri Rest

    Sat Long Run; varies but upto 11 miles; I add on a mile about once a fortnight

    Sun Rest

    Every three weeks I have a rest week, where I just have a slack week of running; three easy runs of about four miles.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    If it's a proper plan it'll give you paces, in which case you'll be ok, as long as you're following the right paces for your level!

    Sometimes the RW plans encourage people just to guess which plan to follow on a whim!


  • I did the 10 miles in 1hr 44 mins; though there were some big hills and it was all off road and muddy/slippy.

    My 5k time is 23.10

    Hill session consists of a two mile warm up and then the last time I did 8 reps (2 easy included in that 8) of a hill that takes 60 seconds to get up it with fresh legs.  Final reps are about 75 seconds.  I jog/walk down the hill between reps.

    It's hard to say what pace I do; my long run pace is about 10.30 pm.

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭

    I would expect to increase mileage my around a mile a day after a race. So for a half marathon on a Sunday, I would do 3.5 miles on the Wed, 4.5 on the Fri, 6 on the Sunday, then not up to 13 until the next Sunday. It usually hits me on the Wednesday and I feel drained and have to push to go out and do the easy 3.5miles.

    I'm 43, Run 3 days a week. Rest, eat and sleep are very important. You say you are slightly overweight, are you trying to diet as well as train?

  • Thanks, Tim; no I'm not dieting at all; my diet isn't that bad so I hope the extra few pounds will come off in time.  I'm fairly stocky I suppose.

    And by coincidence I've been reading Run For Your Life by Dr Ben Tan and he suggests that considering my training age (the time I've been running) is still less than a year, I should not be doing any interval or hill training; and the idea is to work on my base fitness by doing easy and base runs (the only difference between the two are mileage; 65 to 85% MHR), and to build up strength in my muscoskeletal frame and endurance to cope better with the demands on my body for intervals and hill training.

    Which sounds what Stevie G was advising.  But it's tough to hold yourself back when you're keen, motivated, and feeling strong 'n' fit; but I also realise there's more to disciplined running than being able to get your bottom out of the door.

    So, I'm having a re-jig of my training plan!image

  • I raced a 15 miler on Sunday and was browsing articles on recovery times.  Interestingly I found a quote from Tim Noakes saying that the guidance that says "take a rest day for every mile raced" gained popularity in the 70s but is not evidence-based advice, it's just 'finger in the air'.

    I struggle after races and tend to get ill, which I think is because I try to jump back in too soon.  I've taken Monday and Tuesday off running so far and will continue to go by feel.  I'll quite happily do only easy runs for the next week without worrying.

    It would be really nice to be told how much recovery to take but I'm starting to understand now that learning how your own body reacts is a large part of the sport, and only you can make the call.

  • i swear by cross training after a long or hard run i cycle on the next day this allows your muscles to relax allowing me to run hard again the following day and ive not suffered any run related injuries over the last ten years it also allows you to keep burning calories i also tend to have my weekly rest day before my long run(16 miles) it works for me anyway good luck

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