Runners can be an obsessive bread. As a running coach, I know how difficult it can be for my athletes when I tell them to “rest” or “go easy”. We are wired for “fight or flight”. However, rest & recovery are extremely important because that is when the changes happen 🙂
1- Recovery between intervals
If you ever did a “couch to 5k” program, you probably started your running journey with run/walk intervals. Intervals are used in the sport at all levels. Intervals are not exclusively for beginners!
Intervals stress your body in short time periods ranging anywhere from 30 sec-15 min. The rest between these intervals will also vary depending on the type of workout. The idea is to allow the body to recover enough between intervals to complete the workout.
Even elites do these kinds of workouts Galen Rupp did 5 x 1 mile interval workout after a 2 mile race once. These kinds of workouts are apart of almost every training plan.
2- Recovery Between Workout Days
I’m sure you have heard some version of these following quotes:
-“We can’t go hard every day”
-“keep your easy days easy & your hard days hard”
-“80/20”- Matt Fitzgerald
First it is important to note what a “workout day” is. A workout day is anything faster than your easy pace. A workout can be a tempo, intervals, hills, fartleks, marathon pace, long runs, etc.
You should not do “workout” days on back to back days. Your body NEEDS to recover between workouts.
Running slow/easy is a form of active recovery. A recovery run will help your blood to flow which will help in the recovery process.
Cut Back Weeks During Training
-Training cycles are very intense and stressful on the body. The stress on your body will cause your body to change, but these changes can only happen if your body has time to repair itself.
During marathon training, you are running on very low glycongen storages, and it is important to implement “cut back weeks” to allow your muscles to recover, your body to repair itself, AND for your glycogen storages to restore.
Cut back weeks are done every 2-4 weeks at 75% of your previous weekly mileage. We will also like to see the long run cut down to less than 90 min during these week.
After a big training cycle, you will run your “goal race”. It is important to allow your body LOTS of time to recover after this goal race. You might “feel” totally fine within a few days of this race. I have heard people say they “aren’t even sore” 24 hours after racing a marathon (which I think is complete BS..).. However, just because you “feel” fine, doesn’t mean your body is fine.
Can you feel the early stages of a stress fracture? Nope. Can you feel when your body gets early early stages of cancer? Nope. So it’s the same line of thought. You cannot “feel” the things that are happening internally in your body. It can take over 30 days to recover from a marathon physically. Mentally, some runners take even LONGER to recover.
Off season mileage can still be about 75% of training mileage. Personally, I would also cut out the 2 hour+ long runs completely.
Be kind to your body & take is easy 🙂