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Rest Days and Easy Weeks

Rest Days and Easy Weeks

by: Ian Kemp

Q:Dear Cool Running

At the moment I'm training for the Gold Coast half marathon and have been running distances of 10 - 15km, 4 times a week, since around March. I was quite happy with my progress, but just recently, I've been feeling really tired and almost ready to stop at around the 4/5km mark. I'm just wondering if you might be able to give me any clues as to why this could be happening. My diet is good and I'm drinking between 2/3 litres every day. I am now beginning to wonder if I'll even finish the half marathon. Thanks for any help you may be able to give me!!!!


A: Thanks for your note and I hope I can offer some comments that may help..!

Firstly, if you can run 15km on a regular basis, then I am confident you will have no trouble in finishing a half marathon ! It's not necessary to cover the full half marathon distance before the event, and in fact a 15km warm up a week or two before is just about right.

You don't give a lot of information in your note, so please forgive me if I miss the mark ! But I suspect the answer for you is to try & introduce some structure into your weekly running program. You seem to be running between 40 and 60km a week, which is a good volume of running for the lead up to a half marathon.

However, I believe it is important to mix up the distance you run, rather than do the same run each day. Secondly, and most important is to vary the load from week to week. You should plan to have an 'easy week' say every fourth week, or every sixth week depending on how you feel.

The constant pressure of long distance running will eventually tear your body down unless you deliberately build in rest periods!!!


I'd suggest something like this, ideally:

Aim: run a half marathon in a competitive time
Therefore: build up to 60km per week, 15km longest run

week 1: 50km     week 6: 50km
week 2: 55km     week 7: 60km
week 3: 60km     week 8: 35km
week 4: 35km     week 9: 55km
week 5: 55km     week 10: (race week) 40km + the race.

However, in your case, there are only 3 weeks left! So I'd recommend you treat this week as 'week 8' and have a real rest!

Examples of what you might do on an 'easy' and 'hard' week are:

 Easy week      Hard Week
(35km total)  (60km total)

M    5km         10km
Tu   0            8km
W   10km         12km
Th   5km          0
F    0            8km
Sa  12km         15km
Su   3km          7km


I hope this helps you, and I am sure that by working some 'active rest' into your program you will feel mean and raring to go on the race day !

Ian Kemp, Cool Running Australia, 17.06.97

This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010

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