Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

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dkggpeters

Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by dkggpeters » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:40 am

Back in 2007 you made the following statement:
Many, many runners I have coached or advise have previously believed they "needed" days off, only to find when they committed to Tinman training they improved more than they ever have. Every day you don't run you lose efficiency at a rate of 3 to 1.  One day off is like going backward 3 days in your training program. Dr. Edward Coyle, exercise physiologist of renown, has studied detraining effects and concluded just that!
The question that I have is if there is a minimum amount of miles or time required to prevent the lose of efficiency?  I am assuming that I could use very easy pace conatained within the charts.

Does taking a 2 to 3 mile walk instead help to prevent loss in efficiency?

Dave

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by BoilerTom90 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:52 am

dkggpeters wrote: Back in 2007 you made the following statement:
Many, many runners I have coached or advise have previously believed they "needed" days off, only to find when they committed to Tinman training they improved more than they ever have. Every day you don't run you lose efficiency at a rate of 3 to 1.  One day off is like going backward 3 days in your training program. Dr. Edward Coyle, exercise physiologist of renown, has studied detraining effects and concluded just that!
The question that I have is if there is a minimum amount of miles or time required to prevent the lose of efficiency?  I am assuming that I could use very easy pace conatained within the charts.

Does taking a 2 to 3 mile walk instead help to prevent loss in efficiency?

Dave
This is a great topic. I recall back in HS/college one of my running friends always believed he needed one day off/week. I rarely took a day off, even if it meant an easy 4 mile jog around the block (it was a country block where each road is a mile apart). 

That 1 to 3 percent seems like a lot. What if the day before a day off was a key day, and rather than just a short/easy jog the next day, you take the day off? Since recovery is a key part of improvement, does that 1 to 3 percent loss still apply?

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by Tinman » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:38 pm

I think ~12-16 minutes of running is the least you can do and not lose efficiency. I tried many different amounts and various intensities, many years ago, when I was working 2 or 3 jobs at a time. I finally discovered, while in the Air Force, when I was working 10 hour days and on-call 1-2 times per week, which could require me to work a 20-hour day (one time I worked 22.5 hours, and still had to work my normal shift the next day), that a 2-mile run or about that was the minimum to keep some fitness and efficiency. I'd jog the first 4 minutes and then speed up steadily, finishing at about tempo effort the last 3-4 minutes. I think it was the tempo effort that preserved fitness more than anything. I figure that a half a mile at tempo pace is worth 2 miles at an easy pace, in terms of preserving fitness.

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dkggpeters

Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by dkggpeters » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:55 pm

If I understand this correctly then a very easy 2 mile run is enough to prevent loss of efficiency?  If so, this is very interesting and will make me re-evaluate my day off mentality.

Wellpark

Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by Wellpark » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Hi Tom,

As others have commented, if recovery is important and a person has been 'over training' surely a day or two of no running (after say 30-60 consecutive days) will be more beneficial than continuing to run?

Is it that by running 2 miles instead of 6-8 there is better improvement/adaptation than not running at all? What is the science behind this?

I think when all is considered the real loss of efficiency and fitness is negligable compared to the psychological/muscular relief (injury prevention) gained.

I believe in consecutive running. I am a massive fan of Ronhill who has run consecutively every day for the last number of decades. He was not the most talented athelete but proved that determination, intelligent training and consistency can turn an ordinary guy into something special.

I still wonder though at getting into a mindset that might create anxiety for people who might push themselves literally to breaking point due to their fear at losing efficiency or set themselves back because they took a day off.

Take care

Wellpark

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by ap4305 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:50 pm

At one extreme, we have a body is a sick/diseased or injured state.  Running in either of these conditions serves no benefit. 

At the other extreme, we have a runner full of health, vibrancy, and fitness.  No reason to take off in that case for running purposes (although factors like religious observation or long distance travel might necessitate a day off, but that's a lifestyle choice not a physiological necessity). 

The gray area is in the middle.  One reason to err on the side of making an attempt to run when you maybe have the "blahs," but aren't full blown sick or hurt, is the mind plays tricks on us.  It might have been Lydiard who recommended having a one mile "emergency loop" from home where you can do a test run.  If you feel like garbage after the mile, just call it a day, but much of the time the easy mile will inject some life and you'll be glad you're out the door.  Either way, one mile (or even two) shouldn't do any harm; if it does, there are larger health issues beyond the scope of running to be addressed. 

Making "get out the door" our default setting allows us to capture the surprisingly good days yet doesn't make our bad days any worse, provided we're not truly injured or sick. 

If an easy one-two mile run pushes someone over the breaking point, either
a) they are really sick and can't tell the difference between "sick" and the "blahs" (which is a problem unto itself) and/or
b) their overall training is a mess that got them to that state and they should reconsider things they have been doing over the previous months and years. 
Allan Phillips
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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by TexNav » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:50 pm

I can't speak for a long-term value, but I can relate a story as recent as this past week. I'm still in the process of building up mileage again, and volume of work/reps, etc., on my Quality days and ran a couple of both LT and CV pace reps last Tuesday. Nothing hard overall, but given that I am rebuilding, in that context it was and my legs felt it. 2 days/48 hours later I was on an easy 10 mile run which would have been a completely easy run if not for some nasty lightning and storms quickly rolling in. The last 2 miles of what would have been an easy run, I decided to push to a solid Tempo pace; very solid for me given I was still somewhat dead-legged. This was not good given that I had a very important timed run coming up on Sunday. I simply ran about 30 sec/mi slower than I had been on Fri, and Saturday. On the Sat. run I did some strides with full walk recovery. By Sunday morning I was ready to go. Point being even I had thought that I might need to take Friday off just to ensure recovery but slowing down (and even strapping on a HR monitor just to see how my HR related to how I felt) helped me feel great and helped keep me rolling too (I figured if 8:30  pace is good enough for Tom's athlete Mr. Duncan, then it was good for me too). Not  that running slowly solves all things, but just found the timing of your question interesting as it just came up for me.

Schebo

Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by Schebo » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:09 am

I´m sorry, but I don´t buy this thing that you lose efficiency if you take days off. You will if it means less training, but if you do the same amount of training spread out over six days instead of seven the results will be the same.
Paula Radcliffe always take a day completely off every eigth day. Olympic XC ski champion Charlotte Kalla always take a day off every week. Multiple XC ski world champ Per Elofsson always took two days off every week. When people told him not to he tried it and became chronically overtrained and had to retire. Multiple world champion and Olympic medallist swimmer Therese Alshammar always takes a day off every week etc.

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by md_master » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:52 am

I agree with the last poster. If not taking a day off ever means less/no training adaption, then I don't think that loss of effiency is the main problem.

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by wysiwyg » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:11 am

I always feel hopeless after a day off however i had never attributed it to anything other than a bit of stiffness and fluid retention from the rest day, and assumed i could have avoided it if i did a little stretching or a couple of strides. I dont schedule days off for this reason, but occasionally( 15-20 days per year) i take a day off just because i need a mental break or cant be bothered and put up with feeling like rubbish for a day or two.

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by ap4305 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:43 am

"Run every day" is a default setting we can choose for programming.  For example, my computer is set to block pop-ups as its default setting.  However, if needed, I can choose to override the default setting based on cirumstantial need.  Similarly, with running, a default setting of "run every day" is more conducive to long term consistency than building in a day to "lick our wounds" from the previous six or seven days. 

That's far different than running streaks ("never take a day off"), which are more of a circus act than a repeatable training approach.

If someone needs to take a day off every single week to avoid injury, they're not in control of their training...they're surviving it.  Unfortunately, in endurance sports, we often glorify survivalism and the coaches who perpetuate it.

There's no doubt that you can thrive at the highest levels of sport with a day off per week...but that doesn't make it the optimal formual for each individual.

If we want to talk anecdotes, Michael Phelps in his prime went a five year stretch where he missed something like two days .  Now, we might say that Michael Phelps simply survived that training better than anyone else could (that's a perfectly legitimate question).  But a closer look reveals that he actually did less overall yardage per week than many comparable swimmers, which facilitated the consistency needed to swim seven days per week and swim about 250 more days in a five year stretch than others who took a day off per week.  The North Baltimore "hell weeks" over Christmas break were actually more "tame" than other elite programs' hell weeks.

In sum, a "run every day" default setting (which is different than the code for "never take a day off") is more about an overall approach to facilitate long term consistency rather than the odd obsessiveness of a running streak.  The real justification for running every day has more to do with neurology than physiology, when we look at elite performers in fields outside of sports (musicians, chess masters, etc). 
Allan Phillips
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www.ventanapt.physio
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Bob Wildes

Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by Bob Wildes » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:59 am

AP4305 that was possibly the best  post I've ever read about the value of consitency.

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by BoilerTom90 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:19 am

[quote="Bob Wildes"]
AP4305 that was possibly the best  post I've ever read about the value of consitency.
[/quote]

I agree! Along with many of Tinman's posts, I've gone back and read it many times.  This is also one of those I print out for my folder of TRZ Gems.

I loved Joe Vigils response to "should you run every day..."

rocknrollrunner

Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by rocknrollrunner » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:38 am

While I agree that running every day is optimal for elites and youngsters, I find as I'm about to turn 47, a few days off helps, especially with my work schedule (2pm to as late as midnight as an editor for a very busy financial newswire). I was in a rut all summer having trouble racing at 6:00 pace for 5K so I started taking a few days off each week while running the same quality workouts (longer tempos and CV style intervals) and suddenly I dropped to 18:08 on Labor Day and then 17:32 last weekend in very rainy and windy conditions. I know some other masters who race well on lower but smartly structured mileage too. Tinman provided an example of someone he coached (Mike) who owned his own business and he raced well with a few days off each week but with 2 big workouts. As always we're experiments of one. Nice thread!

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Re: Day Off and Loss of Efficiency

Post by Tinman » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:55 pm

My point about running every day, unless injured or ill is based on a simple premise that I believe in. I think that momentum is the key to success in athletics. If momentum is interrupted, regression of fitness and performance occurs. By focusing on a "run every day" concept, I am promoting the idea that no runner should train so hard that they must take rest days. I found years ago that most runners who were taking days off were doing so because they ran workouts too hard or too often. When I told them to take no days off, at first they found it very difficult to keep going the way they were doing. Once I suggested that they run easier workouts, or fewer hard workouts, they were able to run every day. 

In truth, I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a day off each week. But, I'd rather the runner take a day off because for reasons other than physical. If you need a mental break from training, take a day off. If you need to spend time with family, take a day off. But, remember, in a single day there are 48 on-half hour period. I think anyone can manage to run one of those 48 hour periods.

I have coached runners who have been successful using 6 days on, 1 day off. But, those guys tended to make up for a lost day by running more on other days.

Take care,

Tom
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