Recovery runs are short (though sometimes long), easy runs performed in addition to our other workouts. They should be the easiest run we do and are generally performed at conversational pace.
The recovery run is a crucial and often neglected part of every runner’s training schedule. After all, we’ve got intervals, hill running, tempos, fartleks and aerobic threshold runs to do already, how are we supposed to fit in recovery runs and aren’t those other runs more important? This is true to an extent as those other runs are more likely to provide greater stimulus for improvements. However, recovery runs are not without significant benefits either – see below.
Benefits of the Recovery Run
- They help us recover from the week’s training or recent race by increasing blood flow to all of our running muscles with limited stress to our bodies
- Furthers aerobic development with limited stress
- Adds mileage to our engine with limited stress
- Allows us to improve our running mechanics and movement patterns with limited stress
- They can be added as a second run to our day without being too taxing to impede on our running workout the next day
- They are a great source of mental relaxation in our often very busy lives.
- They stimulate our parasympathetic system to moderate and reduces stress levels
What are the key words you may have noticed in the benefit? Limited stress!
How we do a Recovery Run
- Run easy at a conversational pace. It should be much slower than any of our training runs.
- Focus on our running form and breathing – take deep breaths to open up our lungs. Be as relaxed as possible.
- Run for ~25-45minutes depending on how we are feeling
- Complete our run feeling fresh and relaxed.
- Do not have a planned speed or pace for the session.
- A common mistake is running above anaerobic threshold because the pace initially feels too slow. Remember that this run has specific purposes too. Let’s save the harder efforts for our workouts!
If we are keen to build up our base weekly mileage, adding multiple recovery runs is an excellent way to do so with a range benefits and minimal injury risk. We can use them to get our bodies used to the increased mileage before adding in harder workouts.!