Recovering during a step-back week

I’m pretty decent about taking one full day off per week, understanding that the rest lets my muscles get the full benefits of all the hard training I did the week before.

Know what I’m not so good about? Step-back weeks, the entire weeks where you step back in mileage and intensity after two hard weeks of training, are components of basically every marathon-training program known to man. Problem is, I’m not following a training plan right now, since my stubbornly sore IT band has forced me to put my Marine Corps Marathon training on hold for the moment. This means I’ve basically been plowing through my training willy-nilly, often beating the crap out of myself for no reason, with very little rest after.

Case in point: On Sunday, I did two hours of lifting and core work, telling myself doing a 5-minute plank on the BOSU was the equivalent of the 14-mile run I was missing. This followed a week of hard running and swimming, and I’d planned to follow it up with — yep, a week of hard running and swimming.

Then, my body rebelled with a nascent cold. I’m not sick yet, but my body’s considering whether to give in to the aches and congestion that have stopped in for a visit. For once, I’m being smart, and am chilling out this week to prep for the Crystal City Twilighter 5K on Saturday night. I’m considering it a sort of forced taper, or a nasty reminder that my unofficial “training plan” should include some step-back weeks, too.

How do you incorporate rest into your training? Share your strategies by posting a comment below.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Recovering during a step-back week

  1. I had two kids – that guarantees I take rest days. Some days I just can’t find time to workout, some days my runs have to be cut short. My goal is four quality runs a week, with one cross training of some sort. I can usually manage that. Of course, I’m not actually training for anything right now…

  2. The day before and after long runs (16 miles or more) I rest completely. The rest of the week is mixed with two hard efforts and two recovery efforts. Hope your IT band heals up quick.

  3. i have graduated from 2-3 days off per week to 1, religiously. recently i’ve tried to start eliminating that 1 off day *sometimes*, but still take it sometimes too. ultimately i’d like to be able to run 7-days a week if i want to, and resting if i want to.

    i used to be unfocused when it came to my daily running but now that i follow a plan – keeping the easy runs easy and only running hard 2x/week – my body is getting used to it. before i learned the whole “keeping easy runs easy”, i had to take more days off in order to recover.

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