General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Race training - train every day? Rss Feed  
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2014-04-09 7:26 AM

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Subject: Race training - train every day?

What's your experience/preference regarding training plans and a scheduled day off vs. at least one workout every day of the week?

Personally I train each discipline 3x weekly so in order to have a day off I have several double workouts during the week.  I've done both approaches over the years and I can't say as though one is significantly better than the other although when I have a planned rest day it does seem like an oasis during the week...

Curious what others do in order to execute their training plans...



2014-04-09 7:34 AM
in reply to: TriMike

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?

Having an off day or not isn't really the point. The recovery is. So if you balance the amount of work being done each day you'll be just fine going every day. Meaning have some harder to push and some easier days to help your body catch up. So in this regard, it doesn't really matter if you have a full day off. Where the off day may come into play is more in the psychological part. I've been very active my entire life, so going every day is not an issue. I do better with it, actually. However, there are many people who like to take a day off for non-sports related activity. The mental break can do wonders for them. One way is not better than the other, but matching it up to the individual does matter. I do take days off at times, but more so when I need them. Life happens, or sometimes I do try to do too much at once and need the recovery. This may end up being once or twice a month.

2014-04-09 7:42 AM
in reply to: TriMike

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
It depends on the athlete and what is going to work best for them; some athletes function best with a complete day off from training every week (this is often more mental and/or related to other commitments than training related) and others will do better with training everyday. It will also be related to how hard the athlete is training and how they recover from harder efforts as well as how long they've been training as more experience athletes (to a point) tend to respond better to an easy workout for active recovery while a novice will not have the fitness base in order to respond to an active recovery workout.

Many of my athletes have occasional days off as opposed to a rest day every week; we work around their schedule, how they are feeling, how they are responding to training, etc in order to find a schedule that works best for them. However, training load is managed very carefully within so that we typically have a hard day (possibly with two harder workouts) followed by an easy day and some easy days will only have one workout so that there will be a significant period of time between workouts.

Shane
2014-04-09 7:48 AM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
I am currently training for my first Ironman and I am following Don Finks 30 week plan. In his plan, he has monday as a scheduled complete day off. I really enjoy having Monday off and I feel its beneficial to me both physically and mentally. It is nice to know you have a break coming after a long week of workouts. I also use that day as date night with the wife since I spend so much time training during the rest of the week.

Obviously it is up to each person, their goals and how they feel. Some people have full rest days, some dont.
2014-04-09 7:56 AM
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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
I used to take every Friday off from training; now to get in an additional bike workout I usually do a trainer ride Friday AM, take Friday PM off, and do my next workout (a long run, often with some fartlek or tempo work) Saturday AM. I've found it hasn't affected the quality of my Saturday training much. Monday is also a swim-only day for me (PM), after a long ride or brick on Sunday AM. The swim is 36 hours after my Sunday workout, so it's pretty close to a day off! I also carefully sequence my workouts so there's always at least 24, often 36, hours between long/hard rides or runs. Swimming doesn't seem to make a difference--I can do a hard PM swim workout and a hard AM ride or run the next day, as long as I get enough sleep. This wasn't the case, however, when I first started tri training and master's swim, so it may be a matter of building up some base and resilience over time.

As others have said, once you work up a certain endurance base, a day off is often more of a mental break, and/or allows you to do things that often don't happen if you're doing double workouts--housework, paperwork, having a few beers with friends in the evening, etc. Years of endurance training have never given me the ability to stay functional very long after dinner on a double workout day, and it's not improving with age, either!

Edited by Hot Runner 2014-04-09 8:01 AM
2014-04-09 8:04 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?

I think the day off for me is more mental than anything else.  I should have added that I have a busy family life and 50-55 hours per week working so it's the balancing of it all that has me gravitating towards a planned day off...

As a previous poster mentioned, having a full day off allows me to schedule/stack other responsibilities on this day as well...

And now to hijack the thread I started, what's the typical amount of sleep you get per night during race training? 



2014-04-09 8:17 AM
in reply to: TriMike

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
No kids here (well, fur kids) so my time is a bit more my own than most. I try to get at least eight hours every night. In fact, if it's going to be less than seven hours due to unavoidable demands on my time (or, as happened a few weeks ago, my neighbor dancing in his underwear to his car stereo turned up full blast at 3 AM) I'll sacrifice a morning workout. I simply don't function well with less, either at work or in training, and am much more likely to fall victim to the zillions of viruses I'm exposed to as an elementary teacher if I'm not rested. If I'm feeling particularly tired, sometimes nine hours. If I'm training hard on vacation in Oregon (where one doesn't generally need to get up early to beat the heat), it could very well be 10 hours!
2014-04-09 8:50 AM
in reply to: TriMike

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
As others have mentioned, taking a complete day off depends on each person. I sometimes take it, sometimes not. I know I have 1 day a week (usually Mondays) when I can take off to take care of things that happen and it won't affect my training, but if everything is in order, then I do a light workout. Honestly, as you said, it is more mental than physical most of the time.

In regards to the number of hours of sleep, 7 will be my average, although I can work with 6. When I sleep 5 1/2 or less I can function normally for a couple of days, but then I am exhausted after that (I used to sleep 5 - 5 1/2 hours a days, but I need more sleeping time with training).
2014-04-09 9:03 AM
in reply to: dmbfan4life20

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
Originally posted by dmbfan4life20

I am currently training for my first Ironman and I am following Don Finks 30 week plan. In his plan, he has monday as a scheduled complete day off. I really enjoy having Monday off and I feel its beneficial to me both physically and mentally. It is nice to know you have a break coming after a long week of workouts. I also use that day as date night with the wife since I spend so much time training during the rest of the week.

Obviously it is up to each person, their goals and how they feel. Some people have full rest days, some dont.


Date night on a Monday!?! You guys are weird...ok, just kidding.

My rest day rotates based on how I'm feeling. Some weeks it's easier for me to take a weekend day off due to family commitments. That said, I try to incorporate some training in on the weekends, even if it's just 20 mins of core exercises. My biggest issue is not which day I take off, but to make sure I actually use that day as a recovery day - and I think someone mentioned this in a post above.
2014-04-09 9:30 AM
in reply to: TriMike

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
It all depends on how each person recovers after certain workouts. As it is mentioned all the time on this forum follow a hard workout with an easy recovery workout. In addition at 55 years old I know what I can do and cannot do so I adjust my intensity on the fly. I also try to schedule Monday as a swim only day to give my legs a chance to recover from my long ride and run over the weekend.

I have never believed that I need to stick to the exact training schedule and either take a day off or change the workout according to how I feel. Last month I skipped a long run because I had a cold and didn't want to get out of bed, over the course of six months missing one key workout is no big deal to me.

Prior to doing triathlons I was primarily a distance runner and ran two marathons a year. During marathon training I took every Monday off and like you enjoyed being able to take it easy for one day.
2014-04-09 9:50 AM
in reply to: TriMike

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
Others who are far more knowledgeable have covered the theory so I'll just offer my data point.

I do long training on the weekends and I'm 44. I used to schedule in a day off on Mon or Fri. I hired a coach 1.5 years ago and in typical weeks we went to Mon zone 2 spin + lift and Fri swim. Both of those plus how the rest of the week is structured seem to allow for the recovery I need. Of course, it varies a little by week (with recovery periods, etc.) but that's the general pattern. BTW, he also dialed back the overall intensity I was doing as well.


2014-04-09 1:05 PM
in reply to: TriMike


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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?

My best results are from training every day. I can't do this year round, and other times I can't even physically do it (too fatigued), but when I can, I have my best training stimuli, which is not surprising since in endurance sports, in general, significantly more volume tends to improve performance. 

2014-04-09 2:12 PM
in reply to: yazmaster

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?

I am no spring chicken nor do I consider myself extremely durable but I pretty much train every day unless I am sick.  Not so much because I think it's the best formula for race results but because I truly love to get out and s/b/r.  The swim and bike are pretty easy for me in terms of recovery so it's the run I have to be careful of digging a hole with.  Over the winter I went on a big run focus and am now integrating more swim/bike sessions into that.

I do find myself having to get a little creative to get it all in so as not to have too big of an impact on my family.  At some point, if want to train every day you are going to have schedule conflicts.  I swim during my lunch hour, do most of my riding on a trainer while watching TV with my son, every Wednesday I take him to a 30 minute drum lesson and instead of sitting there waiting for him, I get a weekly tempo run in.  I just wish I was a morning person and could do some of my training before anybody gets out of bed but I'm not.

2014-04-09 2:27 PM
in reply to: popsracer

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?
I do something similar to what popsracer does: on the weekends when our daughter is in a 1.5-hr class, I use that time to stretch>warm up>60' run>cool-down-stretch. Beats being glued to an iPhone/tablet like everyone else seems to be doing.

...watch, now that I was snarky about it, I'll twist my ankle or something and have to spend that time glued to my iPhone.
2014-04-09 3:22 PM
in reply to: popsracer

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Subject: RE: Race training - train every day?

Originally posted by popsracer

I am no spring chicken nor do I consider myself extremely durable but I pretty much train every day unless I am sick.  Not so much because I think it's the best formula for race results but because I truly love to get out and s/b/r.  The swim and bike are pretty easy for me in terms of recovery so it's the run I have to be careful of digging a hole with.  Over the winter I went on a big run focus and am now integrating more swim/bike sessions into that.

I do find myself having to get a little creative to get it all in so as not to have too big of an impact on my family.  At some point, if want to train every day you are going to have schedule conflicts.  I swim during my lunch hour, do most of my riding on a trainer while watching TV with my son, every Wednesday I take him to a 30 minute drum lesson and instead of sitting there waiting for him, I get a weekly tempo run in.  I just wish I was a morning person and could do some of my training before anybody gets out of bed but I'm not.

I do this too, usually a run during my youngest son's soccer practices...

As for the mornning, before work is when I get most of my swimming and running in...  Ironically I never did morning workouts until a job change has me working through lunch most days... Now morning workouts are quite doable...

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