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Recovery running is an aerobic process, and a crucial part of a runner’s training plan to execute correctly. It’s during recovery that adaptations from the hard training take place. In general, recovery runs are the easiest training day of the week, other than rest days, and are generally carried out following a hard session, or perhaps used a lot in a base build for a marathon.

Recovery running increases blood flow to muscles, which brings oxygen to them. During this aerobic process, the increased blood flow brings nutrients to muscles, like amino acids, which in turn help to repair microscopic damage of muscle fibres. By bringing more blood in and out, a better functioning body is the result.

Without easy recovery runs between hard workouts, total volume is low. Volume is one of the most important characteristics of training because of the importance of aerobic development for performance. The better the aerobic base, the more capacity runners have to run faster.

Recovery runs should always be performed at an easy pace. The ideal recovery run pace is the type where you could keep a sustained conversation going. If you’re breaking out into a sweat, you’re running too fast. 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 running can also be great for our minds. A chance to relax and de-stress during tough cycles of training, and helping prevent mental burnout.

It can also help to make training more fun; recovery running with a friend can help break up the loneliness that sometimes a marathon cycle can bring.

Written By

Gemma Hockett