Close this search box.

You Be the Coach: Is it better to run or rest after a hard workout?

Guys… I have a serious problem. I’m addicted to buying every running book available:

How many of these running books do you have? #ihaveaproblem

A photo posted by Jason Fitzgerald (@jasonfitz1) on

When I first started running, I did what all runners should do: I listened to my coach!

But when I wanted to learn even more about training, I dived into the best books I could find. My favorites:

You can see my entire annotated reading list here.

Open up any of these books and you’ll hear a lot about recovery – how to bounce back from hard workouts so that you stay healthy and feel good for your next run.

One of the most interesting elements of recovery is how frequent you should run. After all, if you run every day, that means you’ll be running before and after challenging runs like long runs or circuits.

But is that ideal?

Is it best to rest after a hard workout or go for a short, easy run?

Does it depend on your fitness level, goals, and where you are in the training cycle?

These are all great questions – and that brings us to the latest installment of You Be the Coach!

To run or not to run after a hard workout?

You Be the Coach is when I ask YOU to offer your coaching advice to a member of the Strength Running community.

The other day I got a question from Thekla, who’s been a Strength Running email reader for over two years. She’s from Germany and is preparing for her first half marathon.

Naturally, her mileage and long runs are increasing as she trains for her first attempt at the half distance.

Here’s part of her email:

Thanks for providing so much detail and personal experience with your newsletters. You really care about us, your readers and customers, and the topic of course!

I actually have a question on recovery runs. I’m just training for a half marathon and do three runs per week. After a long run or faster workout, I get really stiff legs two days after.

I have now started with very slow paced recovery runs, and after 30 minutes my muscles seem to loosen up again. Am I doing any damage to myself?

Thekla could do quite a few interesting things with her training to make her first half a smashing success.

So, what do you think?

Even though we don’t know a lot about Thekla’s training, do you think she should run the day after a workout or long run?

Are there drawbacks to running so frequently? What should she consider when making this training decision?

I’m going to choose my favorite answer and ship that person any running book that they like – my thanks to you for being here 🙂

Leave your comment below and let’s see how she can run a great first half marathon!

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt.