>General Running>Running the day before a race
Is it better to have a rest day the day before a race, or do an easy run? I used to take a rest day, but my current trainer had me do an easy run before my last 1/2 marathon and a local 11.2 mile race yesterday. For both races I was fatigued more than usual for the last 1/3 of the race, and my race times were slower. Is it coincidence or should I have not done the run the day before. I think that my trainer may be training me to run on tired legs as I am training for a marathon in 8 weeks.
You could run more in general. Then put the rest day two days out. And run short and easy the day before. 50 min easy run the day before is too long.
Is the purpose of the race to
1. race (duh) - best position
2. time trial to give you an idea of pace for marathon or training in the meantime
3. a long run following a non-rest day to have you run on tired legs (as you suggest)
You might consider asking your coach why he has you running that much the day before a race. Understanding why some workouts can be helpful.
I agree with Parklife about running more.
In my own case, I generally don't run the day before a race or make it fairly short and crisp, esp. if I couldn't run the day before that. For longer races, I'm frequently driving the day before the race. In my current training (Running Wizard), I'm doing something like a tempo before the long run.
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I've always been in the habit of running an extended warm-up the day before a race. That might total 2.5-3 miles including a couple miles easy jogging and running with 3-4 easy strides. Feeling more fatigued than usual for the last 1/3 I'd look more at overall training load or pacing for the first 2/3 of the race.
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I always run the day before a race, but only for about 30 minutes. How much mileage that is depends on the day and my fitness. If a 30 or so minute run is making you fatigued the next day, you probably need to be running more.
"When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." Emil Zatopek
The answer for me is determined by my state of health going into the race and the length of the race.
Unless it's a marathon, I always run the day before a race. Otherwise on race day I'm stiff, sore and generally out of sorts.
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Like a lot of people have said, I like running the day before. I find I'm usually a little flat after a complete rest day. But, agree with AKTrail about the amount you're running the day before. 5 miles for someone averaging 20-25 miles/week seems like a lot, so I would ask your coach about the racing while fatigued angle. That's probably what's going on but would also agree that you'd probably be better off running more mileage overall if that's possible since you're training for a marathon. Good luck!
I always do a shake-out run the day before a race...but I try to keep it as slow as possible.
I always took the day off before a race in the the past, but now I do a 4 mile run at around a minute slower than my easy pace and it has had zero effect on my performance the following day. In fact, I believe it helps me more than hurts.
You might be running your shake out run too fast, or as WC2 suggested, are running a high volume in general or pacing too fast during the event. Or, it could be that you are the type of runner who benefits from a day off prior to an event. Experiment with it and see how you like it.
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I generally take the 2nd day before an important race off completely, and then run 2 miles total the day before the race. I run 1 mile slow and easy as a warm-up, and then run 2x800m intervals at 5K pace or a bit faster, or else 4x400m at about 1 mile pace or 8x200m a bit faster than mile race pace, depending on what I'm feeling like. Total of two miles, some quality, not enough to tire me out or make anything sore. I've done this day-before workout before all of my PR races the past couple of years.
If you take a day prior to the race off, take it two days before the race. Day before the race should be about 25-40 min very easy running on flat terrain, with a few (say 4 or 5) 20~30-second striders/pickups thrown in. I've found that I'm much sharper doing something like this day before a race than when I take that day off.
After the race, the reverse is true. That is, if you plan on taking a recovery day off after the race, it's better to suck it up and run a few really easy miles the day after, then take the 2nd day after off. Less muscle soreness overall when the race is followed by an easy recovery run the next day.
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Totally depends on your baseline. The lower the weekly mileage...the more likely you may benefit from a rest or light cross training day. If you normally run every day or higher mileage (50+) - adjusting the intensity or # of miles you do should suffice. Everyone is different of course but that is what works best for me and everyone I know.
In your case, I'd say take the day before a race off because you don't run every day and your body is used to more 'non-running' time and therefore needs the rest.
If you run more weekly miles and get used to increased mileage then you could/should run a easy warm up the day before the race....2 or 3 miles and at a very easy pace. I've found that if I need to take a day off before a race that usually two or three days before the race works better and then run very easy and short the day before the race.
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