I run most days. Unless I'm exceedingly tired or don't have the time (I'm an afternoon runner). I like running! I've always thought that rest days are overrated — have so since around 1984. Prior to then I'd always taken Friday off (we raced Saturdays) but when I switched to running seven days a week my running suddenly improved. My 5k race times went from 19 minutes down to low 18s, then high 17s. I thought that running every day had made me faster. Well, it sort of had. Really it was the consistently higher weekly volume — my aerobic ability had improved. By running on Fridays I'd added an extra 15k per week — 100k instead of 85. "Miles make champions" Arthur Lydiard had said, and while 60 miles a week was nowhere near Arthur's recommended 100, at the time it was suiting me quite well.
It's now 2013 and I'm a (slightly) older runner and (reluctantly) happy to take a rest day if I feel I need one. However I'm not quite sure that one day off does me any good! My running on the day that follows a rest day often feels creaky and rusty. So how about two consecutive days off? I'd read Janene's blog post where she reported having two days off followed by a day of easy jogging and strides. The next morning she raced 5k in 23:16, 67 seconds faster than what she'd managed 4 weeks earlier. Wow! In my training week of 11 to 17 February I took two days off and followed up with a weekend of 'good' training — 20k on the Saturday and 19k (including 1k intervals) on Sunday. That week I still ran 76 kilometres.
I think this method of training may work quite well. Days off (or very easy jogging/cross-training days) followed by 'hardish' days. These days would contain a decent number of kilometres (15 or more) — in that way, the weekly volume I need in order to be strong aerobically could be managed. I'm taking this idea from Bob's recent training. He's been running 4 days a week (3 days off) while still running around 80k per week. Yes, that's averaging 20k on his running days (which are all 'hard') — he runs interval sessions, hill repeats, tempo runs and long runs. He's also 65 years old and training to run a 3:04 marathon at Boston!
Think outside the bubble to improve your running. Geoff and myself looking suitably stunned following Cookie's fun-run win this morning.