Monday, April 9, 2012

Running fast, running long.

Some people like to rest-up well the day before a long run. Long runs are, after all, the bread and butter of a marathon training plan so it makes sense to go into them with fresh legs. Right?

I guess. To some degree.

For me, though, I go in to my long runs with not-so-rested legs. My theory is that there will come a point in the marathon when I'll have to run on tired legs. Possibly very tired legs. I need to be prepared for that -- both physically and mentally. So, I've been fitting in a good run the evening before my long runs.

Like this weekend. I had 14 on the schedule for Saturday morning at 7:30. Friday afternoon at 3:30 I kicked things up with a speed workout. I warmed up, ran 6 x 400 at 7-7:05 pace, cooled down -- total of 6 miles. Later, I made sure to roll my legs. On Saturday, I met Melissa for the 14 miles and we rocked them! We chatted the entire run and floated along at what felt like a nice, comfortable pace for the entire run. Overall, our pace was 9:22, with our last mile at 8:57. Best of all is that it felt so very easy! (Helps having a good running partner!)

I've done similar routines before my other long runs, too. For example, for both of my 20-milers, I ran about 4.5 miles (with the last mile or so at marathon goal pace) the evening before.

For me, packing in tough-ish repeats the evening before a morning long run builds the strength and endurance to be able to push it during the late stages of the marathon. Knowing that I've run well on these back-to-back runs should give me a mental boost. I hope so, anyway!

Is running hard the evening before an important long run crazy? Or wise? I'm hoping it is the latter. In fact, this training cycle, I'm subscribing a little bit to this philosophy:

Source: http://piccsy.com/2011/08/stuff-that-average-people-dont-understand/
We'll see how well it works on May 6th!

And what about you: Do you rest or run hard the evening before a morning long run? 

After running fast on Friday and running long on Saturday, I ran easy on Sunday. It was a great weekend of running!

I hope you all had a good weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

13 comments:

J said...

I usually run long on Saturday mornings too - and Friday is my rest day but I don't usually rest. I meet my running buddy for spin class at 6am on Friday mornings. its nice to have a day off before long runs but I don't like loosing too much momentum so I think spinning is a good balance. I agree with you though - running before a long run is good, helps you learn to train with tired legs!

Evolving Through Running said...

I usually rest before my long runs, but I like your theory and approach. As long as it doesn't set you up for injury, I think a little pre-fatigue probably does serve you well when things get tough later.

Darlene said...

You are amazing! I know I could not do it but then again I can't imagine 14 easy miles. I am so excited to hear about your May 6 race.

Indi said...

The key to my training runs for my upcoming Ultra have been back to back runs. Now I do rest the day before my long run, but I also run long or semi-long the day after to get my legs used to running when tired! Similar concept a little different in application. I say do what works!! And it this has helped stick with it!

misszippy said...

Interesting approach. I am definitely a rester the day before a long run. I usually do an hour spin on the bike followed by yoga. The day after a long run, I usually run around 7 miles to shake out the legs and start the recovery process. I'll be interested to see how this works out for you.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

so true that i like the idea of being on tired legs. when i first started running that would have been ludacris, but now i actually like a short intense workout the day before. your workouts are probably too long for me but again i'm coming back from being sick so who knows

i do short intervals or a tabata the day before and really like it thus far!

Tina @ Best Body Fitness said...

I always liked that similar mentality of the Hal plans of running the long run on more tired legs. I've never done a speed workout before them, but do usually like to run the day before a long run so I can get acquainted with that endurance through fatigue feeling too.

Katie McFarland said...

I like to have an active rest day before a long run. Usually, I'll do a cardio circuit. Trying to give the running muscles a little break while still breaking a sweat. This week it seemed like I couldn't get a rest day so I went tired and I felt it.

I like your approach though. I think it makes a lot of sense.

Katie McFarland said...

I like to have an active rest day before a long run. Usually, I'll do a cardio circuit. Trying to give the running muscles a little break while still breaking a sweat. This week it seemed like I couldn't get a rest day so I went tired and I felt it.

I like your approach though. I think it makes a lot of sense.

Kenley said...

Your strategy makes a lot of sense to go into the long run with tired legs and push it. I do sometimes a medium type run the day before, but on my long run when I am injecting mp I try to be rested for that. It just all depends.

Cindy said...

i used to rest but now i xtrain the day before a long run. i like your theory that you'll have to run on tired legs at some point so getting used to it in training is a good idea.

Miz said...

Id FOR SURE be a rester :-)

Marlene said...

I'm a big proponent of running (some/most) long runs on tired legs. That's what will pay off at the end of a marathon!

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