Running Every Day Requires Rest Days

REDFAY 2013The title may sound as if it conflicts with itself but it is crucial that I remind myself of the importance of taking it easy every now and then.

Perhaps unsurprisingly I’ve been doing some reading about running every day. Participating in my own challenge has prompted me to find out more about what other people are doing and what they might have experienced along the way.

The main things I am looking for are possible pitfalls that others have fallen into. Some of them I can recognise in myself and am consciously trying to avoid them. I’ve just read a good little article on the SKORA Running website about the value of including a sensible rest day into the running streak schedule.

Training Too Hard Has Got to Stop

A mistake that many people make is attempting to perform their workouts at a pace that is too hard. This is particularly relevant for me because only yesterday I went out for a 10k run with 4 other runners who I regularly run with and felt as though I pushed it way too hard.

One of the guys I run with is naturally quicker than me and decided that he wanted to push things along. My mistake was to try to match his pace for as long as I could. The pace was too much for me, particularly because I should have been simply jogging along as a recovery for Sunday’s run. The result was my second fastest time for the course on a day that should have been a recovery day and a set of muscles that are very tender.

In response I am going to head out and do my own thing today to ensure the pace is light and easy. Today has to be a true recovery day and to do that I want to run alone so that I don’t feel obliged to run at someone else’s pace.

One of the traps I constantly fall into is attempting to beat the Virtual Partner on my watch. A feature of the Garmin Forerunner 610 is the Virtual Partner which allows you to nominate a training pace. During the run the watch will sound an alarm when you have fallen behind or moved ahead of the Virtual Partner.

Some days I start out with the plan of taking it easy…and then the Virtual Partner alarm goes off telling me I’ve fallen behind the pace. I can’t help myself and convince myself that it won’t take too much extra effort to beat the VP. Before I know it I have completed my recovery run at a pace way too fast.

Recovery Day Pace Suggestion

From the SKORA article I particularly liked the suggestion of the pace you should be aiming to run for your recovery run. The rule of thumb they provide is to aim for a pace that is 1.3 to 1.4 times your 5k pace. So a 5k pace of 4 minutes per km would be adjusted to a pace of between 5:12 to 5:36 per k. This is around where I am at the moment and a nice casual run at this pace today sounds perfect to me.

The fact that I am conscious about the need to put in a recovery day today, essentially a rest day, means that I have been pushing it too hard over the last few days. So for today I will be running on my rest day and will simply follow my nose as I ramble around the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens.

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