What is a recovery run?

A necessary run after heavy mileage

Running on heavy, tired and aching legs is often not pleasant – and quite the opposite feeling to being fresh and raring to go – but is nevertheless an important and typically undervalued component of a marathon runner’s training regime.

After a long run or do or die session on the track, easy mileage the following day – i.e a recovery run – can help get your body moving again and crucially circulate the blood flow.

By the time you start up running, lactic acid from the previous day’s activity will have already disappeared but ensure you stretch and warm-up properly even before low-paced running.

Don’t watch your watch but rather go with the flow and your feeling on a recovery run, with no specific time or end mileage planned. The dominant benefit of such a run is to build your overall fitness by virtue of the challenge of running in a pre-fatigued state (similar to the closing stages of a marathon).

Getting used to the feeling of running while almost on empty enables the body to adjust to working with energy-depleted muscles, and helps to build endurance and mental strength overall.

It’s worth noting that you only really need to do a recovery run – which can vary in length from 5km to 15km for example – if you run more than four times each week and also try to ensure it follows your toughest session.

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