Is there a difference if I do my long runs on Saturday or Sunday? This has been discussed many times by a variety of runners and I have asked the question to Google and my running friends each time I start a new training program. I have read comments in many different run forums, asked my friends, asked veteran runners, asked beginner runners and honestly everyone has a different answer. The answer is… well its complicated, so let’s delve a little deeper shall we?
Why it’s better to run on Saturday
Saturday is the first day of the weekend and people often feel like they can wake up and get things done right away. Since lots of people are coming off a “normal” work week of working Monday-Friday, it may be easier to continue with the early wake up and bounce out of bed on Saturday for their run. For some, Saturday is a day of chores, laundry, shopping, long run. Check, check check. People also feel like by completing their long run on Saturday they will have more time to relax on Sunday. They can sleep in the next morning and not worry about having to pull on their shoes to get out on the road. Saturday may also be the day after a tempo run or a faster run completed on Friday. This may give some people the benefit of feeling a bit more tired in the last few kilometers of their long run on Saturday, thus mimicking the feel of the real marathon.
Why it’s better to run on Sunday
Sunday is the second day of the weekend and a great day to get out on the road early while everyone is still in bed sleeping, or while everyone is beginning to slowly nurse their hangovers. Have you ever gotten up early on a Sunday, been driving down the road and thought, “Wow, the streets are so quiet and empty!” Yes my friends, this is the bonus of the Sunday run, no one else is up at the crack of dawn, except other crazy runners, so you get everything to yourself! It is also true that many races are held on Sundays, so the more you train on Sundays the more you are allowing your body to adjust to race day events. You also have the luxury of finishing your run and having the rest of your day to relax, so even though you may have woken up early to get in your run you can always have a cat nap in the afternoon to freshen up.
Yes, there are benefits of completing your long runs on either Saturday or Sunday. Some people, me included don’t always have a weekend because of shift work, or because their weekends fall on days that aren’t Saturday and Sunday. You will have to choose the best option for you and the conclusion that I have come to is… do what works for you. If you only have a chunk of time to devote to running on Wednesday evenings, just change your program around to suit your schedule. Be consistent with your long run days and build a bit of a rhythm so your body can adjust and become stronger. My belief is that you won’t suffer during your marathon because you didn’t do your long run on a Saturday or Sunday, but you will suffer if you didn’t do a long run at all.