Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recovery from Workouts and Races

What should you do for recovery between hard workouts and races? The science behind routine easy days is sketchy, so here are my thoughts based on personal experience.

NO ACTIVITY: Complete rest is a good idea following something as strenuous as a marathon, or even a half if you have severe leg soreness. I usually wait up to 5-6 days before resuming normal activity, although there is nothing wrong with some easy cycling or swimming.

EASY 30 MIN: Pretty standard the day following up a hard workout or the day prior to a race. If it's pre-race, throw in 4-6 race pace strides after you finish.

Depends on your level of fitness, but some runners can use a longer easy day and still perform a hard interval or tempo session the following day. It's trial and error on what you can get away with. I would not use this before a race, however.

EASY 10 MIN/ 1 x 800 meter hard / EASY 10 min: I've used this prior to my last few marathons. Here is why.

CROSS TRAIN: I would bike or swim the day before or following long run workouts, but not before races. You could do some higher intensity work such as hills or a spin class or just go easy.

EASY 10 MIN/ 3-5 MIN RACE PACE / EASY 10 MIN: I have no reason to believe this works other than giving you peace of mind and a final reminder what race pace feels like. The shorter your race, the faster your pace on this for a shorter distance.

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