Rest or easy run the day before my race? (Read 10649 times)


    Hi all, As my first HM approaches (this Saturday!) I'm getting more nervous and full of questions. Now I'm wondering whether it's standard to take the day before the race completely off or if I should go out for a short, easy run? I did my last long run Sunday, did easy 4-mile runs Tuesday and Wednesday, and today did a 6-mile run with a 3.75 tempo. Since that was a slightly harder workout, do I absolutely need the rest? I'm leaving for the race tomorrow night, and it's a 3-hour drive; the prospect of all that sitting in the car makes me want to run in the morning just to move around some, but I don't want to set myself up for fatigue. What would you advise?

    A Saucy Wench

      I prefer to go for a short easy run (maybe 2-3 miles) with 3-4 gentle short pickups.

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      Mr R

        My own strategy has been to never ease up, only taper the volume. I'll go LT for 2 miles the day before a race. I'll even do a full kilometer at vo2max pace during my warmups for a race. Just stop before you feel like you're actually tiring yourself. I think you'll find that this will make you feel very sharp on race day.

        What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials. How could they be expected to understand that? -John Parker


          I'm also a fan or running the day before a race. How much and how hard depends on your training history. If I were you I would consider at least two miles and perhpas as much as five, with perhaps 1 - 3 half mile intervals at race pace with a long rest in between. Finish that of with a few 100m strides. Make sure you feel fresh at the end. It is OK to feel winded, but it is not OK to feel tired. Victor
            I like to stay active the week of the race, including a short run the day before. As far as the tempo run I prefer it to be a little farther out--Tues or Wed for a Saturday race, but you should be ok. I see that you are keeping a log, which is good. My advice would be to pay close attention and make notes of these little details such as running vs resting the day before, what kind of warmup you do, etc. You can experiment with races that aren't as important to see what works best for you. A general observation I have made since I started frequenting these forums is that most runners tend to over rate rest days and overdo the tapering. Unless you are running big mileage it usually doesn't work that well to taper a lot. Of course we don't want to wear ourselves out during the week before a race, but it would be just as bad to stop running--which I see some (not you) people doing.
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            Prince of Fatness

              I usually do speed work once a week, and skip that race week under the assumption that the race is my speed work for the week. I don't reduce the mileage much at all. I like to get an easy run in 24 - 36 hours before the race.



                I would train that week, but I always find I run better after a day of rest, or sometimes two. I just feel really fresh and ready to go.
                ...and miles to go before I sleep

                I've got a fever...

                  I am sluggish the day after a day off. I always run really easy the day before a race (and throw in a few race pace strides) to stay sharp and loose. If I take a day off on race week, I take off two days before the race, not the day before. I also always run the day after a race. Helps your body to stay loose and hastens recovery.

                  On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.


                    Do basketball players take the day off before a game? No, they practice. Same with most other sports. I also get sluggish after a day off, so I usually run an easy 2-4 miles the day before a goal race or an easy/mid 5-10 miles the day before a train-through race. If I take a day off, it is usually 2 days before a race (which, if I'm traveling, is usually the travel day.)

                    Run to Win
                    25 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)

                      My personal day before any race shorter than a marathon is a 4 miler. 2 easy miles 1/4 step downs where I get progressively faster with the last 1/4 being at race pace. 1 easy mile home. Not enough intensity to build up a lot of lactic acid, but it does get you sharp (and pumped up during the last 1/4). Big grin

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                      The Greatest of All Time

                        As you can see the advice and the experience of those giving the advice varies. I don't think there is a right answer. In theory I agree with those that prefer to run and do some short race paced stuff the day before, but in my experience if the race is >10K I feel fresher with a full day off before. Since it's your first crack at a HM, I would error on the side of caution and rest.
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                          Run a few miles....3 or 4 won't hurt. Just dont run them fast at all. This is total recovery. I once made the mistake of running a 5k course the day before to see what the course was like but I ran it in 22:15 or so the day before. My goal was 20:00 the next day and i felt awful the entire race yet managed a 20:22. I was far too eager the day before although 22:15 seemed slow it was way too fast and definately not a recovery run.
                            Probably wouldn't have done the tempo two days before the race. I would run around 2.5 - 3 miles slow exactly 24 hours before the race. If your race starts at 8 am. Run your easy 3 miles at 8am. This will program you for race time the next day. It will help. Also, running the day before increases your blood volume vs. resting. More blood = better performance. It is a misnomer that you have to feel "fresh" on race day. You don't. You will perform as well even if you feel a bit fatigued or "not fresh".

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