Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Clive asked an interesting question in Countdown Begins

A serious question - is there any point in doing the 3 miles on the Thursday. The reason why I ask is I have very busy week this week and I said to my wife I need to get in a couple of short runs before my planned 20 mile on Saturday and she said why bother why not just have a rest and do the 20 mile run on Saturday. I could not think of a sensible answer?

About 6 days before a long race I will go for a reasonably long run, last Sunday being an example where I ran 19 miles without any supplements, food or gels and felt very strong from it. The purpose of this run is to deplete my body of my natural glycogen stores, this was obvious as I was ravenous after the run but I ate normally but with a reduced carbohydrate intake.

Then tonight I went for a mixed Easy/Tempo run which was supposed to be 10 miles (ended at 13.6 miles) to just burn off the last bits so that I can start "carbing up" for real when I can eat buns and really get the stores working....this is where the issue begins.

The misery starts
During this period of the carb loading I can get the full set of side effects:
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Gut aches/constipation
  • Depression
I also get the classic problem of the fidgets as my body is not used to the inactivity and wants to "be busy". Apart from the depressive stuff I find the fidgets the most frustrating so if it gets too much I vector in a little, very easy paced run that also reminds the legs what they are supposed to do with glycogen and also allows the guts to get "in the rhythm"

If the Thursday is not for running then a nice walk to the shop and back will do some good, as always, this works for me, but as always is down to the individual. I would love to hear from others as to what they do just before the big run.


  1. Very interesting question and answer. I find that I feel the best (even if it’s just in my head) if I only rest completely one day before the event. The two to three days before I do short, easy runs and just relax during those (active rest type runs). At most I rest completely two days before the event sometimes due to travelling logistics, but never more than two days rest with preferred being one day.

  2. This question has been nagging at me all day and then tonight I spoke with my friend Chris who is a sport physio, I told him I was going for a run tonight and he said why not rest and save your energy until you run on Sat. He said you will not loose any fitness over a week.

    I think the answer lies in a combination of what you have said Jerry and Johann. The rest is needed to allow your body to build up it reserves and the short little runs when all feels right before an event do wonders for your head.

    Thanks for this post it is always good to get some views from other runners.