In the case that you are running your hardest with each workout and race, you might not think about doing a bit extra when it comes to taking the time to run an extra block or mile to cool down. Perhaps you might think that you are too tired to do anything more than just your standard run, and so you choose to forgo it.
However, we are here to tell you that it is extremely important that you take the time to run just a bit more. Also known as a recovery run, there are many reasons as to why it is a good idea to do it, especially when it comes to the sake of your health.
With that said, this article will answer some of your burning, frequently-asked questions to help you get you well on your way to your next recovery run. Pretty soon, you will have to thank us for giving you all of the information! Without further ado, let us get started!
As its name suggests, a recovery run is a type of run that takes place after you work out, after you perform the “standard run.” You continue to run, but at a slower, less-intense pace, as means of cooling your body down after a long, strenuous exercise.
Considering that it is a post-workout activity, you can either choose to do the recovery run right after your usual run, or the following day in place of another intense run. Whichever time you choose to do it, it is just a way to keep your body in equilibrium and not over-exert itself for workouts.
Besides cooling off your body in a natural fashion, a recovery run can be beneficial in that it clears your body of any waste by-products that occur during your standard run. In other words, your body creates things such as lactic acid when working out and, if proper measures are not done to get rid of them, it can lead to problems such as fatigue, cramped muscles, and soreness the following day, which can be an awful experience.
In essence, recovery runs serve to keep your body balanced and free of so-called “junk” from exercise, so that you will be in good condition to be up and running again sooner than later.
There is no exact distance or speed that a recovery run should be at, just because everyone has different running abilities and body types that can otherwise cause the length and pace to greatly vary.
For instance, an ultra-marathon runner might normally running over 20 miles for a “normal” workout, so for very long-distance athletes, limited the recovery run to no more than two or three miles is the best method to go.
Otherwise, if you are not a super long-distance type of runner and instead you run just a few miles here and there (i.e. no more than half-marathon material), then no more than a mile recovery run should do the trick. It is a great strategy to warm down and keep your muscles loose and less likely to tense up, so that you can remain comfortable in the end.
As for speed, again there is no definite pace to it. However, it should be at a leisurely pace, about 50 percent or less of your normal running speed. If you are able to carry on a conversation with someone while doing so, then that is the pace that you should be at for a recovery run. Do not worry about running slowly; after all, it is meant for you to cool down without shocking your body into it right away!
There is no exact type of recovery run that everyone should be doing, just because it all depends on varying factors such as your running abilities, body shape and type, and just how much you had run beforehand. That said, we have created a few types of recovery runs for different levels. You are more than welcome to add or modify them to suit your skills set.
Without any hesitation, here they are:
This is for those who are especially new to running or only do so occasionally at shorter distances (i.e. no more than 5 miles per workout). Start out by gently easing into the recovery run after the proper workout by decreasing your speed to about one minute slower than your normal pace.
Keep your body remaining in an upright position while doing so, making sure that your core muscles are neatly tucked in; after all, you would not want a huge cramp afterwards. Jog for no more than 800 meters before slowing to a halt. Stretch afterwards.
This recovery run is for intermediate runners, or those who regularly run, but not necessarily for long, intense distances (usually around 5 to 10 miles). Essentially, perform the same routine as that of beginners, but this time substitute the 800 meters with about a one-mile light jog, particularly if you tend to run on the upper end of the middle-distance mile range.
Perhaps you are an ultra-marathon runner and normally run tens of miles every day, if not a minimum of 100 miles each week. However, running even more for a recovery run will not make a huge difference on improving your usual running performance, since it is just to help you recover.
That said, for advanced runners, about two to three miles of recovery run should suffice without tiring you out and also cooling you off in a safe, healthy manner.
Altogether, you can help yourself cool down after running through recovery runs, which can be a great way for you to stay fit and healthy by clearing away waste products and reestablishing your resting heart rate. With that said, it is now time to try it!