Elite Running Team training


Written By

Science in Sport Team

2 minutes

When new to marathon training, a common mistake is to believe that every training run you complete should be challenging. This isn’t the case, your hard training needs to be complemented by recovery runs at an easy pace to ensure an effective, consistent training block. Read on to find out why. 


Recovery running is a key training method for your aerobic energy system, and a crucial element of physiology when it comes to achieving your best in the marathon. When you run at a recovery pace, blood flow to the muscles increases, which carries an increased level of oxygen to your working muscles. By exchanging more blood in and out, your body systems function better. This aerobic process transports nutrients such as amino acids to the muscles, which in turn help to repair microscopic damage of muscle fibres.  

Furthermore, you need to give your body sufficient recovery times so you can allow the adaptations to be made. If your body is constantly fighting to recover from intense training, it gives it no time to fully recover, therefore hindering muscle growth and cardiac hypertrophy (increased heart muscle strength). 


Amino acids are known as the ‘building blocks’ of protein, which is a vital macronutrient in muscle growth and repair. During exercise, your working muscle fibres become damaged to release energy, so after exercise it is vital to ensure you are meeting your protein demands, as this is a key macronutrient in promoting muscle growth and repair. Meaning your muscles are not only better repaired, but also grow stronger. A great way to meet this demand is using REGO Rapid Recovery powder within 30 minutes post-exercise, as this provides your muscles with 20g of protein, 22g of carbohydrate, as well as other vital macro and micronutrients. An alternative, more convenient approach if you’re limited for time, is an SiS Protein Bar – a tasty, low-sugar bar packed with 20g of protein. 


Training volume is one of the most important characteristics of marathon training because of the importance of aerobic development for performance. Without easy recovery runs between hard workouts, total volume is much lower as your body simply can’t take high levels of volume at a high intensity, and allow adaptations to set in. The better the aerobic base, the more capacity you’ll have to run faster, for longer. 


Recovery running can also be great for our minds. Instead of constantly being focused on smashing your sessions, let the mind have a breather and enjoy the endorphins that come from getting those miles done. Use the miles as a chance to relax and de-stress during tough cycles of training, further helping prevent mental burnout. Additionally, as easy runs are comfortable for everyone, they are great to do with friends. Grab your running buddy and experience that thrill together! 


Recovery runs are best to be completed the day after a hard training session, increasing blood flow and therefore oxygen to your tired muscles, promoting recovery. Recovery runs are also commonly used at the beginning of a training block, in the ‘build phase’. This is the first few weeks of training, when your body isn’t ready to attack intense sessions yet, so the best way to ease in and build an aerobic base is to start easy through this method of training.


Recovery runs should always be performed at an easy pace. There should be absolutely no struggle in maintaining conversation, and you shouldn’t feel out of breath at all. If you’re breaking out into a sweat and starting to feel breathless, you need to reduce the pace. Another way to check in to see if you are running slow enough is to monitor your heart rate and ensure you’re running at 70-75% of your maximum heart rate. 


Recovery runs can vary in length, and your fuelling plan depends on this factor. As always, carbohydrate intake should be increased before exercising, providing your working muscles with increased levels of glucose which gets converted to muscle glycogen and used to release energy. The ease of a recovery run provides a great opportunity to try other fuelling formats, outside of gel and drink mixes, which would typically be consumed in training for those longer, more intense sessions. SiS GO Energy Bakes are a great pre-training snack that supply your body with 30g of carbohydrates, or alternatively you could try the GO Energy Bars, available in 6 different delicious flavours. 

Now when you go out for your next recovery run and wonder ‘what is the point in running this slow?’ you understand the reasons and how the science backs it up. Sometimes, in order to get faster you need to run slow! 

Written By
Science in Sport Team
Science in Sport Team
Supplying world-class knowledge, elite insights, and product recommendations to provide optimal performance solutions for all athletes across a wide variety of endurance sports.
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