MarathonMaiden's Blog

January 10, 2010

T-99 and Recovery Runs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:45

I meant to mention yesterday that it was 100 days until Boston. CRAZY!! So now it’s 99 days and having it be double, rather than triple, digits makes it seem that more real.  It makes it feel like there really isn’t that much time left which is crazy too because training only *just* started.

Despite running the most since my marathon last May yesterday I didn’t feel it when I got up this morning.  My hipflexors were a little tighter than normal but no weird pains or aches indicating that I overdid it.  Definitely a good thing.  As much as I hate on the cold I think that it has a protection factor and has been playing a role in keeping me healthy as my miles climb up there.  Just a hypothesis though as I have NO evidence to back it up other than my gut.

I had a recovery run on tap today and, duh, I did it.  But rather than tell you the mundane details of the run itself and try to make a post out of that I want to talk/write about recovery runs and what they mean to me.  (But in case you’re wondering: 10.2 miles (day 30 of double digit streak), 9:18 pace).

And like always I will get to my point but let me start of by saying that back in the day I never distinguished between different kinds of runs.  I just went out same pace (same route even!) day after day.  Sure, I didn’t consider myself a runner back then but that was the deal.  I guess I kind of got my speed work by running pyramid sprints on the basketball court but when I went out to just run I was pretty boring.

Once high school / team sports ended I really didn’t change that philosophy either.  The only change I made was to change up where I was running and thus run different distances each day.  (I will say that I was on the track team freshman and junior year but I did it just to stay in shape and don’t consider that training part of *my* training because I disregarded a lot of what the coaches told me.  Oh me and my authority problem haha).

I changed up my running schtick because of my high school running friend who eventually told me to run a half-marathon, where I incorporated attractive, hot and exotic runs like tempos, intervals and long runs as well as recovery runs.  Which I hated. But over the years of racing (and it’s only been about 2.5 years) I’ve come to…accept the recovery run.  No real love but definitely acceptance.

For me, I have two ideas of what recovery runs are and how they are defined to me:

Post-speed work: On these recovery runs I really do try to forget pace.  I try not to pay attention to pace on these recovery days but it’s hard.  Ideally the body just does what it needs with no input from the mind. Speed sessions, be it intervals or tempos, are so pace driven that it’s important for my body not to worry about it the next day.  Speed work is very intense and tests more power and strength (as opposed to endurance) and the next day my muscles need is a day to circulate all the by-products of the hard effort and get them out of my muscles and out of my system.

Post-long run: As long runs test endurance lots of people take recovery days as XT and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that BUT that’s just not me. What sets this run apart in my mind is the distance: I try to keep it at 50-66% of the long run distance.  Pace-wise I’m not as good about forgetting pace. I try to keep my pace around whatever the long run pace was the previous day, or at least attempt to get there by the end of the run.  This type of run is for circulating my blood in an easy manner and, compared to the speed work recovery, this circulation lets blood warm up and get into tight muscles. It’s also helping my legs learn to run slightly tired.

And there you have it: my views on recovery runs. In general though recovery runs are just that: recovery.  Different from easy runs because the day before you had pushed your body hard and very likely the legs need a day to let the themselves just move.  For me my legs have the tendency to become tight (especially with my lack of stretching) so it’s great to get them loosened up. Although I tend to think of post-speed and post-long as two different types of runs they both serve the same purpose of recovery from the last workout and prepping the body for the next one.

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14 Comments »

  1. I definitely need to do more recovery runs. I was the same way in high school too. I mean, I ran all four years (even made el capitan my senior year). But on the weekends, I ran the same route at the same pace. Looking back, I don’t know how I did that!

    Comment by Nick — January 10, 2010 @ 16:59

  2. Ahhh 100 (or 99) days until Boston!!! That’s so crazy!!!

    Comment by Ada — January 10, 2010 @ 17:29

  3. Woot! 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Wait, that’s not right. Ha!

    What are you doing about days off? I have to imagine your Boston plan has RD’s somewhere in the mix? Are you still streaking?

    Comment by a marathoner — January 10, 2010 @ 17:34

  4. I agree with you that the colder weather MUST do something (like cooling leg muscles) to help prevent injury!! 99-days will be here before you know it! woooo exciting! keep up the great running chica! xoxo!

    Comment by Lizzy — January 10, 2010 @ 17:53

  5. I like how you differentiate recovery from speed/tempo work and long runs..never really thought about that before!

    Comment by Heather — January 10, 2010 @ 19:42

  6. I like this post! I always have trouble finding a pace for each run and feel like I end up running around the same speed every run, which I know isn’t ideal. This gives me a new way to think about my runs, thanks! Crazy 99 days till Boston! You have plent of time though

    Comment by BostonRunner — January 10, 2010 @ 21:00

  7. Thanks for this! I did my first long run for the half (in a month…haha. I should really train) yesterday. I did 10mi at an 8:56 pace. I was just going to stretch and do some lifting, but now I’m thinking a recovery run would be a good idea. hm…

    Also, my fiance (a non-runner) has decided to run his first half marathon! Any suggestions? He has 16 weeks to train so I adapted Higdon’s beginner program for him. He did a 5.5mi run yesterday, so he’s a little ahead of the game.

    ooooh…you should write a blog post for beginners! “Words of Wisdom for a Beginner Runner.” I bet you have lots of good advice!

    Comment by runningfiance — January 11, 2010 @ 11:01

  8. I can’t believe there are less than 100 days until Boston! I have yet to begin training!! January 25th!

    Comment by Mary (Food Fit & Fun) — January 11, 2010 @ 14:18

  9. You’ve been doing such high mileage that I doubt your long runs will be a problem, but you might have to make some of the easy runs shorter when you start doing those 20-milers.

    Comment by runjess — January 11, 2010 @ 14:29

  10. I def do a post-long run run similar to yours, light and easy. And noooo, I rarely distinguish between different types of runs, unless I run on a treadmill. Then, it HAS to be speedwork or else I’ll shoot myself, haha.

    Comment by Kathleen — January 11, 2010 @ 15:10

  11. I am just starting to pay more attention to different paces and differnt types of runs. I am doing Speeed and Tempo… but sometimes I end up doing Tempo speed on a long run or a steady day… but I am serious either. Just wanting to improve.

    Comment by Katerina — January 11, 2010 @ 16:53

  12. Instead of pace-based running, have you ever considered HR-based running? It might help you match your desired intensity to your run. It is in general a bit more accurate than pace-based running because it measures the effort you’re putting forth directly. Just a thought…

    Comment by The Laminator — January 12, 2010 @ 00:57

    • I definitely have considered it and would love to do it but sadly a HRM isn’t in this poor college student’s budget right now. Sad face. Hopefully soon though!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — January 12, 2010 @ 22:33

  13. […] marathonmaiden @ 16:17 Since yesterday was a really hard interval workout then today must be recovery day!  I definitely do not look forward to these days, doubly so if my legs aren’t feeling […]

    Pingback by Crunchy Crunchy « MarathonMaiden's Blog — January 13, 2010 @ 16:17


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