Details on the importance of ‘recovery miles’ the day after a long run or a tough running workout! Running for recovery is just as important as running for endurance or speed training.
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A few weeks ago we talked about REST Days. Why their important, what they mean to me, and how I incorporate them into my training.
Today, we’re talking RECOVERY. Now you may be thinking, what’s the difference?! Well to me, there’s a big one.
I’m not a certified running coach or anything like that, but I wanted to share a little about my philosophy of recovery runs as a distance runner. Marathon training, and distance running in general, takes a lot out of the body. It requires proper nutrition, smart training, rest, and in my case RECOVERY RUNS.
What is a recovery run?
By definition, according to Runner’s Connect…
A true recovery day should not be hard in the slightest. You should be training at a pace that you are barely breathing hard and could maintain a short conversation. Despite how good you feel when running easy, you should not push the pace on a recovery day; otherwise you are defeating the purpose of the workout.
I keep this in mind when planning my recovery runs and usually do more than half the distance of the long run I did the day prior. I keep the pace casual and comfortable. I don’t do intervals or speed work and I let my mind be free. Instead of focusing on the run itself, as I would with a scheduled hard workout or long run, I ease up on myself and just run for joy. If integrated properly, recovery will do just as much to enhance your performance as any other type of workout.
Not everyone believes in this kind of ‘active rest’ the day after a long run, but I’ve found they work much better for me than total rest the next day. I’ve tried total rest the day after a long run before and it’s resulted in total stiffness, soreness, and a terrible run the next day. I HAVE to shake out my legs in some way the day following a long run, and a recovery run is what I’ve found to work best for me!
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Now you know why I do recovery runs and what I wear while doing them…how about I share an example of one of them with you?
This is a recovery run I did the last time it was too bad of weather outside to hit the pavement outdoors….
Let me know if you try it!
Before I go, I wanted to share some other runners’ perspectives on recovery runs! It’s always good to get a wide range of opinions.
I almost always do a recovery run. It’s a short run (1-3 miles, depending on how intense the previous workout was LOL) and it’s at a very easy pace. It helps work out any residual “kinks” plus gets me moving (albeit slowly!) the next day. | Kimberly
I definitely recommend recovery after an effort session (long run or hard run) whether that means true rest to allow your body to recover or “active recovery” that can include very slow easy run or a walk (or foam rolling, light Yoga, etc.) The caveat is that active recovery must be easy enough to allow properly recovery. Many runners push themselves too hard even on easy days which can lead to overtraining or injury. The most important thing for runners to remember is that we adapt (grow stronger, get faster) during rest, not during the workout, so must allow our bodies the proper time to recover. | Lea
On my own volition, no I don’t take recovery runs. But when I’m training a group I usually run 1-2 miles the day after a long run with them and admittedly it feels great. In short, I recommend recovery runs even if I don’t always do them myself. | Rachel
The day after a long run I flush my legs by spinning for 30 – 45 mins on my bike. I find spinning easier on my body than running as it help with reducing lactic acid build up and keeps my legs moving at a higher cadence. | Julie
Do you take recovery runs?
What are your thoughts on total vs. active rest?
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