Significant rest is as important as the stress components of the running program. It’s actually during the rest days from running that your muscles recover enough to prevent injury or lingering tiredness.
To maximize the chance of having resilient legs, it’s very important to rest the muscles of the day before the long run. Cross training can be done on other non-running days, as long as the lower leg muscles can recover and you don’t seem to accumulating overall fatigue. Avoid exercises such as stair machines, leg strength exercise, cycling that involves standing up, and step aerobics classes. The most common training exercises are walking, swimming, cycling and upper body strength exercise.
Cross training won’t improve your marathon time, and it’s not necessary for finishing the marathon. It will provide attitude –boosting endorphins, stress release, and fat-burning on the days when you need to let your running muscles recover.
Easing into new exercises:
- On the first day go five easy minutes, rest for 20-30 minutes, and then go for five more minutes.
- You could start with two to three different exercises, alternating them and gradually increasing the session to one hour.
- During each successive session, increase by three to five minutes on each of the two segments.
- For example:
1- 5 min/5 min
2- 8 min/8 min
3- 12 min/12 min
4- 15 min/15 min
5- 18 min/18 min
6- 22 min/22 min
- Exercise every day at first, if you wish, building up to two 30 – minute sessions. You may combine the exercise into on continuous session with a frequency of every other day. On the off day, you may do a different exercise routine.