Don’t rush the process of athletic development. It takes time and patience, don’t cut corners.
We need to be consistent with our training but also with our recovery. To improve your running performance, you need to correctly balance training and recovery so your body can positively adapt. Just as the planned hard workouts have a purpose in your training cycle of stress and improvement, so too do your recovery days.
Recovery runs support growth and adaptation. They are very similar to normal distance runs, except the pace is slower and the duration is typically shorter to enhance recovery.
When used in the day following a more intense workout, a recovery run helps to return the body to homeostasis and prepare the body for the subsequent work to be done the following day. Often overlooked, recovery runs work to enhance the supercompensation effect. The occurs over weeks and months of training as you repeatedly provide a training stress interspersed with recovery.
The pace of the recovery run should be slow enough so that it is enhancing recovery and not prolonging it. The intensity needs to be low enough so that minimal muscle damage is occurring, and the primary fuel source is fat so as not to delay glycogen replenishment. The exact pace of course varies from individual to individual. Pay attention to your body and how it reacts and your biomechanics.
The total distance of the recovery run is also an individual preference. The purpose of the recovery run is to enhance adaptation by taking you through the adaptation phase quicker. Recovery runs and normal distance runs should make up the bulk of training. The harder you run, the more aerobic recovery work is needed. The stimulates the gentle flow of blood toxins to the liver, eliminating acidosis and restoring the body to neutral. The is also why slower paced running is better than total rest. Failure to remove any mounting and prolonged acidosis will damage the body’s enzymes, muscles and red blood cells. It can also depress the nervous system.