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4296 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 17, 2013 7:31 PM by Woody100
madra Rookie 5 posts since
Dec 14, 2007
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Jan 5, 2013 2:36 PM

What do you do on rest days?

I'm working toward running a 13.1 in May.  I'm building mileage slowly and understand that it's important to have rest days for muscle repair.  I'm rather new at running (never run this distance before) and I'm wondering...


What do you do on "rest" days?  Do you completely take the day off - no work out at all?  Do you bike?  Do elliptical? Weights?  If weights, do you stay away from legs?  I don't have the option of swimming.


My personal goals are: 1) general long-term health, 2) weight loss (also eathing carefully), and 3) finishing the half-marathon going as slowly as I need.


Any tips would be welcome.


~ Madra

  • LeighDS Amateur 21 posts since
    Feb 11, 2012
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    1. Jan 7, 2013 6:48 AM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?

    My general schedule is broken down into lifting and runnign days. My rynning days vay between 3-4 and my liftiing 4-5. They kind of all depend on my schedule, weather, soreness, etc. But my usual week has 4 days of lifting and 3 days of running. If I feel I need a "day off" I usually only run 2 miler, enought ot say I did something but not enough activity to hinder me.



    **Knocks on wood** I've never had an injury that has made me stop either running or lifting. I am in very good tune with my body and what I should (or should not) be doing. I do occassionly take a day off involoving NO structed physical activity. Usually these are the day after a big race because I push myself harder at race time than I do on my own. I know this won't work for everyone, but it works for me.


    When I was training for my first half-marathon (exactly 1 year ago today!) I focused on my endurance and simply just getting my milage up. My training week usually saw 2 short runs (2-5 miles) and one long endurance run (6-11). Once every 3-4 weeks that long run day was used to as a new distance day. For example, 8 miles in August, 9 miles in September, 10 Miles in October (notice the trend ) It just happened the race feel in January.


    Best advice I can offer you is to tune into you body and listen to what its telling you. I hope this or something this was helpful!

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  • zlauer Rookie 6 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
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    2. Jan 7, 2013 9:18 AM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?

    I rest.    Usually I don't do any planned exercise, but if my everyday life calls for me to be out and about, I get out and about: a bike ride with the kids, a walk around town, whatever. Rest does not equal couch potato.


    If you need to get weight lifting in, that would work, but I'd avoid the legs, especially the day after the long run.

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jan 7, 2013 9:32 AM (in response to zlauer)
    What do you do on rest days?

    I find active recovery is best, easy bike ride/yard work/weights/swimming.  The active recovery helps remove the lactic acid and speeds recovery.  A all out rest day some times is good!

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
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    4. Jan 7, 2013 3:12 PM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?

    Hi Madra,

    Hopefully, you have some other races prior to the half and it would be a good idea to get in some 10k events, for example.  I have lighter days, but really no periods without some sort of activity.  I lift weights and do floor exercises for strength training, along with cycling, walking, hiking and so on.  I try to avoid a day of doing nothing because it seems that the influence is mostly negative and counter-productive to future goals.  I know that rest periods are recommended by the experts, but my viewpoint is that there is a greater recovery time from "resting" than staying in some sort of motion on a daily basis. 


    Best wishes on your half...focus on the 7 and 11 for your LR schedule and you will be fine. 

  • rb77 Amateur 37 posts since
    Oct 20, 2010
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    5. Jan 12, 2013 8:36 AM (in response to Jasko123)
    What do you do on rest days?

    I rest on rest days. No weights. No running. No biking. Walking to work, or to a store on a rest day is not exercise per se.


    If you don't rest, you don't fully recover. I'm so drained after weightlifting or my long run, it's difficult to do much of anything well the next day.


    If I want to build and see improvement on my next run, I make sure I am rested. I have at least one rest day per week. Mostly it's two days every 8 days or so.


    If you don't rest, you can overtrain, and set yourself up for injury. Then you are forced to rest for many days.


    Rather than work out every day, I change things around. Run-weights-rest. Repeat. Other weeks I'll run three or four days in a row, rest  then lift, rest, then run, bike, lift.


    If I've done my training properly (lifting and long run), I need to rest the next day, not because I want to, but because I don't really have a choice.


    Rest days also make me want to get out and train the next day even more, because I'm not dog tired. I have much more energy.

  • danhouse1 Amateur 8 posts since
    Jan 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jan 19, 2013 12:44 PM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?

    I'll do squats and other movements for the legs. I like to do rowing exercises for my back and a limited amount of upper body maintenance-- benchpressing, bicep curls. I also will do more abdominal exercises, for 15 minutes,  with a weight ball, lower, upper, and sides, but I do abs on running days also, but I'll spend more time on them on rest days. I don't do any endurance cross training involving the lower legs (no swimming or bike riding.)


    I think a moderate leg regiment with weights is beneficial to someone training for a half. I'll do it on rest days. Lots of squats. I plan my schedule so the day after a rest is easy running.

  • MegaDan88 Amateur 26 posts since
    Mar 1, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Mar 11, 2013 12:07 AM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?

    My rest days are just that, resting. I usually walk my dog on those days, but I don't consider that a work out.

    I've found that rest days are just as important as the other days because my muscles and legs have time to recover and rebuild the damage of previous workout sessions.


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  • gilbertholdings Amateur 27 posts since
    Mar 6, 2013
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    8. Mar 11, 2013 11:17 AM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?

    i completly rest from any planned exerices, e.g. no running, biking, etc.  it doesn't mean i won't do activities like hiking, but for me it's really a mental break to get a complete day off without worrying about it.

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  • runnathon Rookie 6 posts since
    Feb 22, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Mar 11, 2013 8:17 PM (in response to gilbertholdings)
    What do you do on rest days?

    Complete rest (as in doing nothing that raises a sweat) seems to be counter-productive for me. Gardening, a walk, cycle, strength, or a few short sprint reps at three-quarter pace seem to make the return to running easier.

  • RunningNut3 Amateur 9 posts since
    Mar 6, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Mar 13, 2013 11:33 AM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?

    I run 5 days a week and have 2 "rest" days. One rest day I do nothing (this is usually the day after my long run). The other rest day I will typically do some core strength training or some elliptical/bike,  something to change it up.

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  • Woody100 Expert 42 posts since
    Nov 28, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Mar 17, 2013 7:31 PM (in response to madra)
    What do you do on rest days?


    On rest days i easy bike and also stretch some, i try to be "busy" even on rest days but i dont do in excess.

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