God made the world in a week, only taking one day off. I’m training for a marathon, and I’m taking two.
Last summer, ahead of the Dublin Marathon, I ran six days a week. This included a long run and two speed sessions, and all added up to around 54 miles. Two weeks before the race I was in great shape and I loved every step and stride of my training.
And then overnight I felt completely drained, with legs like concrete pillars. Even on short training shuffles I could hardly lift my feet. Right up to the night before the marathon, I feared a 26-mile ordeal was in store. (In the end I had a good race – despite fading after 20 miles I turned in a decent time that wasn’t too far from my target.)
The thing is, I achieved my best time on much less training – four or five days per week, with only a month of fartlek and serious long runs. And even the long runs were only 15 miles at most.
Not that I’ll ever admit I overtrained or anything. I’ve decided, in a completely separate development, to add a second recovery day to my weekly training. No reason. (Ahem.)
My usual day off is Friday, so my second one will be midweek – starting tonight (Wednesday). Shall I go home and sit in with a book and some tunes? Is there football on TV tonight? How about doing some laundry? (Bah. Now I wish I was running.)
But I must be disciplined and give myself time to recover. In a few weeks, when the heavy mileage comes, I’ll appreciate it. And on the day of the marathon the ol’ P.B. time may well have a few minutes chipped off it as a result.