How to Add Recovery Runs to Your Routine

Exercise

How to Add Recovery Runs to Your Routine

Training for an endurance event, such as the marathon, requires your body to complete the same repetitive action with its associated impact over and over again. This is fine if we’re an experienced runner with good body condition and a neutral running style, however, not everyone is blessed with this ideal set of attributes. If we over-extend our bodies they protest and ultimately break. Recovery runs are designed to help with this. Read on for more information on recovery after running.

Woman resting on her knees after a recovery run

Why a recovery run after a long run is a good idea

Successful training for a marathon includes recovery times as well as training. It’s all about being patient and gradually increasing the load, so that the body can absorb the training while getting stronger and faster. However, this only works when the correct training load is executed at the correct intensity for our body so we give it time to recover and adapt.

We are often conditioned to think that ‘harder is better’ when it comes to endurance running, however, this is not the case!  Smart, consistent training designed for each individual and executed at the correct intensity is the way to see improvement without getting ill or injured.

woman stretching legs after a long run on the beach

How do I complete a recovery run?

A recovery run should be where you’re breathing easily and capable of holding a full conversation throughout the run. Your effort level should be around 6-6.5 out of 10 (60–65% of Max. Heart Rate) and your run should be no more than 45-minutes, otherwise, it isn’t really recovery.

Elite athletes regularly run at this easy effort. Don’t worry about pace, just get out and enjoy your run.

If you’re running more than three times a week, it’s a great idea to add recovery runs to your routine. These should be run at a very easy and relaxed effort. You’ll also need some recovery weeks in your training so that your body gets a mini recovery period as well. These will allow the body to repair any micro muscle damage or inflamed tendons and ligaments that occur naturally through the repetition of training.

What’s the aim of a recovery run?

The aim of a recovery run is to pump blood through the muscle cells to remove waste products. It should feel relaxed and refreshing. You shouldn’t be trying to run at a specific pace, so if you’re finishing your recovery runs panting, sweating, and out of breath then you’re running.

man stretching his hips after a long run

It’s easy to get into the habit of running these runs too quickly so they start to move nearer to a steady effort run. The more running you do, and the fitter you get often means you can lose focus on the value of recovery running, resulting in tiredness, fatigue or picking up a niggle or injury, so take it easy, and let your body recover.

Respect the value of including recovery after running in your training week, don’t be afraid to run gently, and don’t worry about the pace you’re running at. Make the most of this time and enjoy being out in nature while running without any pressure. and Recovery is as important as the harder training sessions in your plan.

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