Race Training Questions

5k, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, UltraMarathon, Triathlon, whatever it is you train, or at least most of us train, all of us should train, but when do you start? how many miles or minutes at a time? how many times a day? how many days a week? how much cross training? For every runner you ask you’ll get a different answer, for every pro you read about you’ll see different methods and schedules, for every training plan you find (or buy) miles, days, distances and speeds will vary… what’s a runner to do? the short and simple answer? You do what works for you. Of course finding out what works for you requires trail and error, time and patience, and a sense of awareness.

I hate having rest days on monday. I like to start the week off with a bang! A lot of training plans call for Mondays off because long runs are scheduled for sunday. Some people prefer long runs on sunday, other prefer on saturday, it depends on your schedule and the schedule of your loved ones. If you are training for a marathon a long run can be 3+ hours, that is a huge chunk of the day, especially if its one of the few days you can sleep in and or spend with your loved ones, so you do your long run on saturday (leaves sunday as a backup incase life interferes on saturday), rest or cross train on sunday and kick off monday with a bang! If that works for you. Or you could do your long run on sunday morning while your loved ones, friends, kids or dog sleeps in and be back in time for brunch.  Do you schedule your long run on Saturday or sunday? I like to do cross training (kettlebells, yoga, spinning) on the day after my long run, some times I’ll run a short distance (sub 3 miles) but generally i like to give my legs a break, this is my preference, it works for me, it is not required, in fact I know quite a few runners who like to rest the day before a long run instead, where do you stand on rest and long runs?


How many days a week are we supposed to run? Every other? 2 days on 1 day off? everyday? Currently I’m experimenting with different weekly schedules, all have a weekend progressive long run, a day or 2 of cross training and total 19-23 miles. I have 3 different scenarios, 1 day off, 2 days off and 3 days off, off of running that is. The weeks I have less days off I am running shorter distances. I am looking forward to next week it will be my first week of 3 days off from running (4 runs, 1 rest day, 2 cross training days) How many days a week do you run? cross train? rest? 

I said that I am experimenting with different daily run distances, 2.5 to 3 mile runs have been my go to distance for a while, I’m going to try giving myself an extra day off but bumping up to two 5 miles a 4 miles and a long run of 6 up to 14 miles. Maybe it will work for me, maybe it won’t. Do others even do this? Am I the only one who usually runs the same distance everyday? Do you typically run the same distance on your weekday runs, if so how far, if not what do you do?

With all this talk of my schedule I should note that I am training for a fall Half Marathon Paine to Pain (do it if you are looking for a mid october race in the NYC area) and possibly a second fall Half Marathon TBD. When do you start official race training ? I am starting mine officially starts next week- 12 weeks out

Enough about me, my methods and my training. I want to know your thoughts…

Do you schedule your long run on Saturday or sunday? 

Where do you stand on rest and long runs? 

How many days a week do you run? cross train? rest? 

Do you typically run the same distance on your weekday runs, if so how far, if not what do you do?

When do you start official race training ?


    Hi! I am a new runner, I've run 2 5k's and have my first 10k August 19th... I started using the couch 2 5k program and it worked great! Now that I am "training" again for a race I run the days I do not take a fitness class. Mondays are my rest days and I work out tues-sun. I suggest ST as well as running, try some HIIT workouts too

    Carlyn | 6 years ago Reply

    Ugh! I had written a whole comment and now it's gone! I am a newer runner as well.. i've run 2 5k's and am currently training for my first 10k in August. I used Couch 2 5k program and it worked great. Now that I am training for my 10k I just run the days I am not taking a fitness class (something I do 4-5 times a week) I also do ST and HIIT workouts on my own. I suggest trying to switch up your routine as much as possible!

    justkeepsweating | 6 years ago Reply

      I love cross training, getting more into HIIT, nice and short but super effective. I often think I'm 'doing it wrong' running 5-6 days a week and doing XT only one, it'll be nice to see how I feel after I switch it up ;)

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

    I think it depends on your goals. If I were coaching you (I'm a RRCA-certified coach), I would start you 8-12 weeks out, depending on your base fitness. I like the long run Saturday if that works for your schedule because you can do a recovery run or cross training Sunday and then rest Monday. I think it's hard to run well on a Monday if that's your first day back to work. I'm an advocate of longer mid week runs for someone who wants to run a certain time, not just finish. Other than that, it really depends on your goals. A good coach (like me, wink wink) will help you find what works for you in terms of mileage and number of days per week and will work with your goal. I don't think that there is one answer for anything running-related. It should be about you, your schedule, your time, your goal. :)

    DrRachelRuns | 6 years ago Reply

      oooh a RRCA coach commented on my blog? yippie! I aspire to be an RRCA coach one day... anyway Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! - I agree it depends on YOU ... I'm going to stumble over to your website to see about this coaching thing now ;)

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

    I run 3x a week. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Long runs are Saturday. I bike on Sundays, rest on Mondays and Fridays. Wednesdays are for cross-training of some kind. I find that having Mondays as a rest day work well for me. Friday is obvious since Saturdays are long miles. I do bike once in awhile on a Friday night, but its just once a month if that.

    Shannon Chenoweth | 6 years ago Reply

      2 rest days? I don't know that I know how to rest enough to do that... i've got to take some notes from you... resting is hard for me ;)

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

    I generally run 4 days/week, cross train 2 days and rest 1 day. My cross training is the bike trainer and strength/core work. I like to schedule my long runs for Saturdays because that means I can have a glass of wine (or three) Saturday night. I never have alcohol the night before a long run as I run early in the am so I feel too sluggish if I have even one drink. My distances depend on what I am training for. Right now I am in a maintainence mode so my runs are fairly similar in distance. My long run is anywhere from 9-12 miles and my other runs are 5-7 miles. When I am training for a marathon the long run increases. I generally rest the day before my long run. The day after I will do an easy 5ish miles or so.

    Bethp262 | 6 years ago Reply

      I like that, 4 runs, 2 cross, 1 rest... I'm trying that next week, hopefully it will be as nice in reality as it seems on paper. Also seems like saturday is the long run day of choice even though a lot of races are on sundays.... i like this wine on saturday night you speak off... I may have to get on that :) glad im not the only one who runs the same or about the same distances for my 'regular runs'

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

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