Endurance training is a delicate balance between pushing your limits and recovery. Tip too far in either direction and months of preparation can easily be squandered. An important lesson I have learned over the years is that no training plan is sacred and that you need to listen to your body. Some weeks will end up being harder than others for no apparent reason and sometimes I find I need a little extra TLC to be able to take on my next hard workout.
A little trick I use when I am feeling like I need some extra rest / recovery but don’t want to take an additional day off of running is to switch up the timing of my workouts: If my rest day is Wednesday and I am feeling particularly tired after my Tuesday morning speed workout, I will push my Thursday tempo run to the evening to give my body more time to rebuild. When I do this my rest “day” actually turns into almost 60 hours free of running. Those 12 extra hours may not seem like very much but its more time for your body to repair itself and I find the psychological benefit I gain from giving myself that little break to be really important too. To make recovery even more productive I include both yoga and foam rolling which I find really help my legs feel fresh and ready to go sooner. I find that allowing for a little flexibility in my training schedule pays off in the long run.
Overall I have really been trying to follow the mantra: ” Make your hard days harder and your easy days easier”