Are rest days needed? (Training 7-days a week?)

So my personal opinion, in most cases for most people I would say yes. But I also think they are optional if you prefer to do 7 days a week. You just need to be more careful with how you train.

I was looking at the Maffetone FB group and I was asking others about 7 days a week and that was in 2016… So obviously not a new idea for me.

So I would say in traditional training sense with many hard days then for sure you need regular rest days. This guy makes this point perfectly. (you can click and read if you don’t want to listen)

His point is if you go on a walk 20 minutes a day 7-days a week do you need a rest day? Of course not, so where is the line that need to start taking rest days (completely off)… Well that line depends on how your body is reacting to your training, which also means what kind of training you are doing.

Most people have the opinion that you should do less but do long sessions but I know at least a few people including myself that I have seen better results with more shorter sessions. There is a whole group of Running Streak association that has done like 20 years of everyday. Now are they winning marathons, maybe not but is it healthy or give them reasonable performance. I would guess so. One of the guys on the dev team here has been running almost 3 years every day, never missing a day.

I rarely have a complete rest day. I do weekly have a recovery day where activity is limited to 60 to 75 min brisk walk at 6k/h.
But I do very little high intensity. I´m mainly focussed on long events at top Z2 intensity. Both cycling and running.
Usual routine is 90-120 min Z2 for 5 days a week, one long (4 to 6 hours) and the recovery day above.
I do some tempo zone when I feel like I´m ready for it. That´s on average 3-4 times a month. Sometimes an unspecified number of short HIT intervals at the end of my usual routine. Very little planning, except for the couple of priority events. Mostly by feel and backed with HRV monitoring.

When I posted this I was thinking of you and curious of your thoughts. Since having kids and TrainerDay I have been very inconsistent in training (always doing a little something but not enough to feel super in shape). But finally, I am ready… Starting very gentle but 7 days a week of low intensity. Super motivated and exited. I would like to graduate to a plan like yours.

I also ended up with some interesting situation where Trek is giving me a screaming deal on a new Checkpoint gravel bike. Can’t wait for that… Hopefully by the end of the summer I can call myself a cyclist again.

It all has to do with stress and load. If you do a short high stress training or a very long slow training the load can be the same. So 7 days a week is fine and most people can handle this, but as with all training, you need to build it up. I think most people can do 1h a day of zone 2. Building it this way goes slower, but you can build massive volume in the end.

I think it is a good point making a distinction between performance and health. One of my teachers had a saying on her door that read: pro sport starts where regular sports stops being healthy.

I think that is very true.

Except for the fact that fun can something push you over the edge as well. Since I am very enthusiastic I really need to take my restdays, but I can certainly back the everyday moderate training system.

It is a very healthy way to grow old with great fitness.

Have fun

Yes, I am fan of intensity as well. Fast is fun. For me consistency is the most important factor and if I shoot for 7 days a week, even if I miss a day or 2 I am still doing well. Also I think this goes back to the idea of very traditional base. Hal Higgdon suggested when new runners start they should do 2-years of base before working on going fast. Low intensity is safer, especially when you are fragile like I currently am, it will be easy to destroy myself with intensity. But you are at a totally different different level then I am so we can’t really compare :slight_smile:

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I should have said that I have been building up this kind of volume over the past 2 years, following almost 20 years of less consistent but still 6-8 hours a week, with more intensity. If you’re not used doing 10-12 hours a week at least, a full rest day is probably better.
At my age, I became less ‘explosive’ but when it comes to long events, I sometimes have the (false) impression that I’m never going to break.
I don’t do crits anymore, that would make me look ridiculous :wink:


I think it is crucial that we listen to what we need. There is no one-way solution.

I see that a lot of amateurs frustrate themselves by following schedules and doing training they don’t like just to get better. In the end, you can get better in a lot of ways.

Since we all have other priorities like work and family, we always leave gains on the table like a mid-day nap. Therefore, I coach people to train in a way they can keep up for the rest of their lives and stimulate them to look for improvement beyond their schedule, like better nutrition, short core training, etc.

In the end, you want to perform while staying healthy and having a lot of fun in the process.