Why do runners leave one days rest whereas body builders leave two?

I've been wondering, why it is that most of the running schedules have very few rest days and rarely more than one day at a time? I know that body builders leave two days to allow the muscles to repair properly.

Is one day off really enough after a long run?


  • Not always, Burnley, and there's a big element of judgement involved. Sometimes one rest day, or easy day, after a long run will be plenty. At other times, a bit longer will be needed. Sometimes we need a whole week of relatively easy days.

    Running doesn't do as much damage to the muscles as bodybuilding. Muscle damage is a by-product of running but the whole aim of the sort of lifting done by bodybuilders. So bodybuilders will need more repair time - although I've come across a few who regularly train on alternate days and don't feel they're suffering for it.

  • Some body builders also take only take 1 day off a week (my brother is a former Mr North Britain competitor) they normally train different body parts on consecutive days – The same thing can be achieved if you are a runner by x-training I.E. alternating hard runs with another form of exercise such as swimming and cycling etc.

    Cross training can also enable you to train more than once a day as I sometimes train up to 3 times a day

  • As above most bodybuilders though they train almost everyday, they're working different muscle groups.

    A 24 hour rest per week helps repair muscle damage and gives your muscles time to re-stock on glycogen levels. In bodybuilding, rest is essential for muscle growth ( muscles only grow when at total rest esp when asleep and pro bodybuilders need around 10 hours sleep per day).

  • Thanks for the replies fellas.

    I used to do a bit of body building when I was a student about 15 years ago we always did 2 2hr sessions a day with two days on, one day off. Oh to have so much free time!

    I did a long run on Monday, swam 1km of crawl on Tuesday (normally I'd do half of it as breast stroke but I'm trying to protect my knees which are a bit dodgy) and woke up yesterday morning hardly able to move. Muscles acheing all over the place.
    Certainly in no fit state to go for a run.
  • Hey Burnley, not always true of runners!  This runner often takes two days off between hard sessions!  In prep for the off-road marathon I've done, one of my goals was to avoid injury and my strategy was to listen to my body rather than follow the days in a set schedule.   So for example, I sometimes took two days off after an interval session (hard), and sometimes after a long run, especially in the later stages when I was on my feet for a long time.  

    It's my impression that quite a lot of runners get injured by running because their schedule tells them to, regardless of how well recovered they feel.  

    It can be helpful to think of how many sessions a week of your running diary are 'hard' and how many normal or easy.  So for example, in some weeks I had a hill session (hard), an interval session (hard) and a long run (hard), but I'd make sure I didn't do that two weeks in a row.   It was a hard lesson for me, but age also slows recovery, howerver psyched you are!

  • Has someone just bought a Delorean ?
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