Running Times featured an article discussing distance runner Jason Ryf’s training patterns of running hard everyday. With a marathon best time of 2:21:40 (5:24 pace) he runs the majority of his miles at a 6:00 pace. Even Olympic Marathoner Ryan Hall doesn’t run his easy runs that fast. Hall’ marathon PR is 2:04:58 has him at a 4:46 mile pace and his easy runs are at a 7:00-7:30 pace as described in his book Running With Joy.
I will agree that what works for some does not work for others, but I have to disagree with the idea that going hard everyday is good for you, or even right for some. There is definitely truth and success behind the Lydiard training principles which incorporate speed in the weeks leading up to a race after a strong base has been established. I can’t imagine there is a physiologic benefit to running hard every and not incorporating rest for recovery. We know the benefits rest has in terms of recovery and rebuilding. Ryf had a stress fracture in his leg and foot with his type of training which is a classic overuse injury from lack of rest. He only claims two years of running injury free. While he is without a doubt producing incredibly fast times, avoiding injury is more important and could potentially bring even faster race times. There even is argument that Alberto Salalzar’s training regimen of constant hard running produced chronic inflammation leading to his myocardial infarction.