>Running 101>Tired and Heavy Legs
OP. You are getting really good advice.
... For next weeks sessions I am going to take flat easy routes, I have been doing a lot of hilly routes, some with 800ft of elevation change, which for me is huge. I start to feel better around the 3-mile mark, which leads me to believe I need to stretch before and after running...
I believe this may have been overlooked in much of the advice given.
There is a very real phenomenon that the more training one takes on, the longer it takes to truly warm up. A newbie can jump on a course and will be running about as fast as they will within a few hundred yards. But a runner that's well into the training cycle and easily take over two miles until they feel "right". Which is not to say that you must warm up for two miles before the workout. It's just that you might as well realize and expect that the first few miles will feel sluggish and like a real effort. IF you're like me, you may not hit your stide until the latter half of a workout. You can do things like jumping jacks and dynamic stretches if you want, perhaps some strides. I used to jump rope. Or you can just resolve yourself that the first mile or two is a warm-up, and your legs feel heavy.
On to another point, i have found this strategy to be useful when one is trying to establish their "norm." Plenty of advice here to slow down and lighten up on the easy days. I fear that this is only half the picture. In simplistic terms, if you want your everyday workout to feel like your baseline (not fatigued), you need to establish workouts in excess of that so that when you return to the baseline, it seems relatively easier and hence doable. You may achieve this by scheduling in harder workouts, and these may be hill workouts, hill repeats, or tempos, and/or taxing long runs. Ideally, it would be several of these. These are to be hard efforts and should push your boundaries. Those days are preceded and followed by easy runs.
And guess what, on the easy days after a hard workout, you will know why your legs feel fatigued. And that's a good thing because it is a sign that you are adapting and accommodating to the new levels of stress you have taken on. As you recover, repeat with another "target" workout.
I have heard this strategy referred to as adding "spice" to one's plan.
I would start with the hard workouts and make them the target of my plan. An ambitious plan has the target workouts as the tempo, interval, and long runs, and these are often done once each per week. Hills can be done in lieu of the intervals once in a while. The rest of the days are recovery days with one day at least as rest.
From my experience, if you do this, you really do not need to focus on slowing up. Honestly, you will have no choice. ANd that's probably just an indication that it is working, and you don't need to think about it. But the big big BIG point here is: make sure you are rested (revoered enought) when it comes time to do your target workouts. Never push so hard on your recovery days so as to leave you too fatigued to take those on.
can you do the same mileage in 4 days?
I'd go hard run...recovery run, hard run....recovery run, not, 5 hard runs in a row each week.
300m- 37 sec.