Easy Weeks

There comes a point in a training cycle where all the miles, intensity, and hard efforts start to take their toll. Maybe a runny nose or a cough is the result. Maybe it's sore knees, shin splints, or general aches. Or maybe the result of all the miles and stress is general irritability, lack of focus, and loss of drive.

Whatever the result, there is usually a common fix: an easy week.

Easy weeks are an important part of any training plan for many reasons.

Physiologically, training operates under the principal of stress and recovery. When we stress our body's systems and then allow them to recover, they become stronger. However, too much stress without enough recovery leads to breakdowns.

Easy weeks provide a prolonged opportunity for the body to recover, adapt, and benefit from hard training.

Easy weeks also allow for a mental break. Finding time to get in the miles can be taxing. Focusing on pace, planning workouts, and preparing for races can wear one down. A short break allows one to recharge mentally and emotionally.

Often times it is a good idea to schedule easy weeks into a training plan. For beginning runners an easy week after 3 build weeks is optimal. For more experienced runners an easy week every 5th to 7th week may be appropriate.

For those who are not structured enough in their training to schedule easy weeks, or who just don't think along these lines, when you start to experience any of the symptoms listed at the beginning of this post, consider an easy week. Often times taking it easy for a few days is all that is necessary to get to feeling right again.