Thursday, April 7, 2011

Learning to Recover

Looking back a year ago, I didn't take recovery runs.  I knew I should take it easy on my runs after a hard workout, but I hated to see a slower pace so I pushed through and ran too fast.  I never followed a plan, I would just workout with how I felt.

And it worked for me then...well sort of.

Now that I have been following a plan for the half marathon I don't know how I ever trained with out it!  I love having the distance and paces already planned out so I just check the schedule to see what I have for each day.  And I am learning the important of recovery runs. 

I knew going into this 12 week training plan that I would only run 5 days a week.  I didn't want to over do it and I wanted to make sure that I had time for cross training (although that whole cross training thing really hasn't been happening).  With only 5 days of workouts, that definiltely left a little bit of flexibily in where to schedule runs.  Three of the workouts would be key, hard workouts and would be consistent each week, which left two workouts to be scheduled in where I wanted or needed them.

Consistent workouts each week:

Tuesday: Tempo or Interval Run
Thursday: Tempo or Interval Run depending on Tuesday
Saturday: Long Run with half marathon paced portions

That leaves four other days to fit in two easy/recovery runs.  In the beginning I was running four days in a row, Monday thru Thursday, but as the weeks have continued on, I am now running on Sunday after my long run Saturday.  Each week I decide whether to run easy on Monday or Wednesday.

For this particular week since I had a race on Sunday, I took off Monday and went right into Tuesday for my hard workout.

2x (2mi at HMP, 1mi at Tempo) w/ 3 min recovery

Taking the day off after the race was a great idea because I felt fresh on Tuesday and ready to tackle the paces -

First set - 2 miles at 8:02 pace, 16:03, 1 mi at 7:23, Total = 23:27
Second set - 2 miles at 7:55 pace, 15:49, 1 mi at 7:10, Total = 22:59

Wednesday I scheduled my recovery run and managed to convince Brian to come along with me.  Although it looked like it was about to rain, it held off and we ran a nice and easy 3 miler.

Brian left me in the dust - It's hard to take iPhone pictures while running!

Today, I am running after work because it is supposed to be 50F outside!  I have another hard workout planned with 4x1200m at Tempo pace.  I think the system I have for this training cycle is working really well and I am able to recover well before the next hard workout.  It also helps that I have recovery socks hidden under my work pants 50% of the time!   

Smartwool Recovery socks

How do you recovery? Have you found a schedule that works for you?


Beth said...

You are following such a smart plan! I have a similar schedule, I always do SLOW recovery runs on Wednesday and Sunday. I also pool run 2-3 times per week for easy recovery and added miles. Its been working really well for me!

Jen Feeny said...

Glad you are enjoying the recovery run!!! When I was training I always loved this run the best because I could just go la-dee-dah wherever I wanted, with or without a friend, and just relax. You're doing such a great job on this plan and I can't wait to see how you do when it's all done and said!

Marlene said...

It's great that you have really figured out what works for you with this training plan, to get the most out of your workouts and also recover in between.

I'm on a similar system - long run Sunday, Monday off, hard workouts Tues & Thurs, recovery run in between on Wednesday and Friday & Saturday I generally get to "just run" which is nice. :)

Amber said...

I agree! Recovery/slow runs are so important. And usually they are the best runs because I just let my mind relax :)

Amy said...

My group runs on Monday nights are scheduled Recovery Runs. It's nice to be kept at a slower pace with the group. We're a lot chattier on Mondays than Wednesdays which have been hills/speed!

Anonymous said...

nice running! When I was marathon training last time around, I did recovery runs on the days before and after my long runs, and then easy longer runs on Wednesdays in between speed days on Tues/Thurs. It seemed to work well!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am glad you like being on a training plan. :) I definitely prefer to be 'on the grid' as I refer to it. It is just nice to have it mapped out and to know what to do each week. Otherwise I feel like I lose focus!

For me, I try to not run more than 3 days in a row. So I tried to spread out rest days so I can accomplish that. Sundays are pretty much always my long run day and Monday tended to be a rest day. The rest of the week got switched aroudn depending on my schedule.

Anonymous said...

i do recovery runs ~3X a week. because i do 3 hard runs a week. my body usually forces me to take them though hahah! glad everything is working out with the training plan. i go back and forth with the pros/cons of having one and not...still undecided on my part.

Nicole said...

i like to recover during the week when im busy with work & plans then run on the weekend when i have all day to get a run in! if i run 4-5 days a week, that means 2-3 rest days & thats lots of time during the week to spend doing other things! it works for me!

X-Country2 said...

Woo for spring!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

My recovery generally consists of easier days. I just cringe at not exercising even though I KNOW it would be good for me. Basically, I just fight it. The manfriend however takes recovery days for cycling a few times a week, but I just can't.

Anonymous said...

i definitely incorporate active recovery swims and runs into my weekly training schedule. And it helps me bounce back alil quicker than taking a full day off, or not taking a day off at all...hurt my pride at first - the slower paces. But, I had to remind myself WHY i was doing WHAT i was doin...

Allison said...

I need to be better about recovery runs. It's not that I necessarily push myself to go faster, but I should probably be watching my pace and forcing myself to slow down.

I like the smartwool armwarmers - they look fun!

Rebecca said...

I pretty much agree on all accounts! I love having a schedule, and I am just beginning to see the benefits of recovery runs. TRUE recovery runs! I didn't like going slow because I didn't like seeing those slow paces. But I have been really trying to do at least one slow, easy run a week, plus cross-training. I am finding that with the hard running club workouts I need a recovery run! (This is a good thing.) Another great benefit of running club is the workout schedule - I adore this sort of discipline. SO GLAD you got me to join!

Suzy said...

Recovery runs are the best! I look forward to my Monday runs because they are as integral to my running as any speed work is.