Recovery Days For Runners – Can I Still Work Out?
There is a saying stress + rest = progress. Which is why recovery days for runners are as important as the training itself.
That is, if the goal is to get faster or stronger, of course.
Besides giving the body time to rest and adapt, it’s also opportunity to slow down and reflect. This would be a great time to open your training diary, list down things that went well, those that didn’t, think of the week ahead and adjust the plan, if need be.
Recovery days for runners
Each athlete treats recovery days differently. For some it means training in a very light mode – in Zone 1, for instance – while others take it as a full day off. The latter helps to also take a mental break from a particular sport and come back feeling truly refreshed.
But one thing remains true for all athletes – it’s best to keep moving on rest days, as it speeds up recovery processes. Light movement promotes blood flow (but doesn’t add too much intensity), which helps to flush out waste products from the body (toxins, lactic acid) and normalize internal processes.
Can you train on rest days
So, recovery days don’t necessarily mean sitting on the couch or avoiding activity. As a runner you would want to reduce the load on the lower body on recovery day, but you can still include a session that works the rest of the muscle groups.
This might even be a light strength session for the upper body, as long as it doesn’t add too much fatigue. Stato-dynamic or explosive strength sessions with long rest is a good option.
Personally, on my recovery days I like to switch active run training for an easy mobility or core session. This helps the body to recover, but also keeps the healthy habits and momentum going. Like crossing off the activity box for the day.
Read also: 7 Surprising Benefits Of Recovery Workouts And Active Rest Days
Week 6 of marathon training
This was a solid week of training and I’m feeling very good about the fitness and progress that was made thus far. In fact, I want to jump to the harder phase of training and start doing intense intervals right away. However, I know that my body needs time to adjust and I’ve made the mistake of doing too much too soon earlier.
So, I’m taking it gradually and focusing on building the overall volume first (with occasional moderate efforts). Here’s how my training looked like this week:
- Mon: off
- Tue: 45min Z2/Z3 run
- Wed: 30min Z2 run
- Thu: 40min Z2 run, incl. 5x15sec strides
- Fri: 1h run, incl. 4x2K Z4
- Sat: 50min Z2 run, incl. 10x15sec strides
- Sun: 1h Z2 run
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How did I get here?
Hey there! My name is Andrejs and I am here to inspire, entertain and get you fit for any adventure.
I went from being an over trained pro athlete to an endurance coach sharing how to listen to your body and live life to the fullest.
Traveling, new sports & activities brought new meaning to my training and made it much more effective, fun and enjoyable. And I'm here to help you do the same.
Thanks for clearing the air about rest days as there are various opinions about it.
As your mentioned, people have different ways to accommodate rest days as it’s very important for progress. However, the term ‘rest days’ gives an impression of the laying-down-at-couch day which shouldn’t be the case. It’s better to keep your body parts moving at a lower intensity. Targeting core can be a good option as it will not put much burden on your legs. Upper body work-out can also be used as a ‘rest day routine’ for runners as it will keep your healthy habits intact without putting your legs under pressure.
Hope this article will help runners to get off some confusion about ‘rest days’.
Hi Julian, my pleasure!
Thanks for the advise and tips!
Well I technically exercise 7 days a week. But I consider a rest day the time in-between when I am done with a gym full-body weight lifting session and the 24 hour period until my next hour run. Therefore, I can exercise everyday but still give myself a full 24hour period rest until I need to pick it up again. Well it works for me, thanks for your idea about working the core on rest day. I will definitely remember that one.