No-Burnout Essentials: The Recovery Workouts

I run too slow most of the time. If wasn’t such a slacker, if I’d just push a little harder on more days instead of zoning out more than half the time, I’d be faster than I am. It must just be that I’ve given up, right?

Running on soft surfaces will also help your recovery, as you also already know

Seriously, I’ve mostly given up on getting anyone to slow down and have a nice gentle jog with me on days when I’m feeling chatty. I don’t blame you for that. More to the point, I don’t blame you if you don’t take my advice to make your easy days easier if Greg McMillan, Jack Daniels, Matt Fitzgerald, and just about every coach out there is telling you that your easy runs need to be considerably slower than your race paces, and you’re still plugging away doing every run at whatever pace you ran your last marathon. In general, I don’t have tons of advice for marathoners. I just wish them a wonderful experience, since they sure are investing a lot of time and money.

For marathoners who decide to take their running to the next level and train for a fast 5k, the recovery workouts become more important.

My workout today went like this:

10 minutes on the elliptical, heart rate going up to 68% max

Dynamic warmup with hip circles, pushups, squats, lunges, leg swings

10 minute jog

10 minutes on the lateral elliptical, heart rate going up to 78% max

10 minute jog with strides

This is to recover from a steady state run yesterday, made challenging by running with a young friend who wanted to blow off some steam. The last couple miles of that run were at tempo-run effort. If I’d run hard intervals, the next day might be just half the workout I did today. For short repeats, I can do a slow recovery run of up to 7 miles, but the key word is slow.

How slow? Slower than 9 minute miles. By the time I feel ready to race a 5k, I’m doing interval workouts at a 6:30-6:40 pace and recovery runs with the first mile taking more than 10 minutes and a few more miles at a 9:30 pace.

I know you already know this too, but your recovery workouts should be at least every other day.  I put two recovery days in between harder workouts, and some weeks go down to just one hard workout.

There are multiple benefits to taking it down all the way to first gear. The main one, which you already know, is that you won’t get stuck in third gear; you’ll find that fabulous fourth and fifth gear. Another is that you’ll meet more people in your running club. When I was in South Coast Road Runners, I’d run at anywhere from 7:30 miles down to 12-minute miles depending on the day, so I got to run with everyone. I was the only one who did run with everyone. They made me their runner of the year in 2011.

Also, if it’s a recovery day, you can not only go as slow as you want, you can do whatever you want. Biking, swimming, and dancing all count as recovery workouts.



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