Recovery mileage is perhaps one of the least talked about subjects but the bulk of our weekly mileage. In a world where we are data driven to the extreme, it makes sense to talk about what we are doing the majority of time in our training. So what does optimal active recovery look like and how can you make the most of your recovery miles?
First, recovery mileage is not meant to be a set pace or pace range that you must hit. It should be intuitive. Your recovery pace should be highly dependent on what quality you have done around it. For instance, if you are a day removed from a hard workout your eyes shouldn’t be locked on your pace. You are probably going to be running slower than typical and that is entirely acceptable. If you have had multiple easy days in a row, chances are your easy pace will be naturally slightly faster. Your recovery runs should be comfortable, conversational and a controlled sustainable effort.
This comfortable pace is necessary for you to be able to absorb the work done on your more intense or longer effort days. You are still building aerobic strength but not taxing your system with intensity multiple days in a row. Now recovery runs being a comfortable pace doesn’t mean you are not going to be fatigued when you are finished. Your easy runs should be setting you up for your next hard efforts.
Keeping your easy days easy and hard runs hard seems like an obvious rule, but too often the runner’s “need for more” prevents this from happening. By completing each day with the appropriate effort levels, you can help mitigate your chance of injury and overtraining. You also give yourself a greater chance at consistency and development in your training and performance.
Tips for keeping your easy days easy
-Run with a friend and keep it conversational
-Keep your heart rate under 80% of max HR
-Keep a training log and track how you feel after different efforts for future reference points