Benefits of Recovery Runs and How to Do Them Right
by Emily Jannet on Mar 02, 2023
As runners, we often focus on training hard and pushing ourselves to achieve new personal records. However, it's important to remember that recovery is just as crucial to our overall performance and success as training itself. Recovery runs are a key part of that recovery process, and in this blog post, we'll explore what they are and how to do them right.
What are Recovery Runs?
Recovery runs are easy, low-intensity runs that are done at a slower pace than usual training runs. They are typically done the day after a hard workout or long run and are designed to help your body recover and repair after a more strenuous effort. By running at an easier pace, you give your muscles a chance to recover while still staying active and keeping your cardiovascular system engaged.
The Benefits of Recovery Runs
There are several benefits to incorporating recovery runs into your training plan, including:
Improved Recovery: As the name suggests, recovery runs help your body recover more quickly from harder workouts. By keeping your muscles active but not overexerting them, you'll improve circulation and reduce soreness and fatigue.
Reduced Risk of Injury: Running at an easy pace and lower intensity reduces the risk of injury by giving your muscles and joints time to recover and rebuild.
Mental Break: Recovery runs can also be a mental break from more intense workouts. They offer a chance to relax and enjoy the run without worrying about time or distance goals.
Increased Endurance: Recovery runs help build endurance by keeping your cardiovascular system active and engaged. Over time, this can lead to improvements in your overall fitness and performance.
How to Do Recovery Runs Right
Now that we've covered the benefits of recovery runs, let's take a closer look at how to do them right. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Run at a Slow, Comfortable Pace: The key to a successful recovery run is to keep the pace slow and comfortable. Aim to run at a pace that feels relaxed and easy, even if it's slower than your usual training pace.
Don't Worry About Distance or Time: Unlike other training runs, the goal of a recovery run isn't to hit a certain distance or time. Instead, focus on running at a comfortable pace for a set amount of time, typically 30-45 minutes.
Listen to Your Body: While it's important to stay active and engaged, it's equally important to listen to your body and adjust your pace or distance as needed. If you're feeling particularly fatigued or sore, consider cutting your run short or taking a rest day instead.
Mix it Up: Recovery runs don't have to be boring! Mix up your route or terrain to keep things interesting and engage different muscles. You can also try incorporating some light cross-training, like yoga or stretching, to help aid in recovery.
Make Them a Regular Part of Your Training Plan: To truly reap the benefits of recovery runs, make them a regular part of your training plan. Aim to do a recovery run the day after a hard workout or long run, and consider doing them once or twice a week even when you're not in a heavy training cycle.
Keep Your Nutrition and Hydration in Check: Finally, don't forget to fuel and hydrate properly before and after your recovery runs. Even though they're low-intensity, they still require energy and hydration to help your body recover effectively.
Recovery runs are a valuable tool in any runner's training plan. By giving your body time to recover and repair, you'll reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance. Just remember to keep the pace slow and comfortable, listen to your body, mix it up, and make them a regular part of your training routine. With these tips