Posted by: Dean Hebert | July 1, 2009

Youth Runnning — Should runners train everyday?

Coach Dean Hebert

Coach Dean Hebert

Here’s a question from a reader named Lauri:

“My 15 year old son’s cross country coach is telling the kids they should run everyday of the year….something called consecutive day training. My training suggests at least one day of rest or change in exercise to avoid injuries. Is there some research about this especially with young runners?”

Before we jump in to the answer, let’s start with some training fundamentals. Improvement comes by stressing the body then allowing it to recover. Or to put another way, We break down the body and then allow it to rebuild. It is during this rebuilding phase that compensation for our weaknesses takes place and the body rebuilds itself stronger than the previous state. That is what we call the “training effect”.

Thinking about the training effect then, the body needs to be put under stress AND allowed to rest in order to improve. If we were always resting, we would lose conditioning. If we are continuously breaking down the body (stressing it) then we’ll end up, over-trained, burnt out, unable to improve and likely on the path to injuries.

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