So, yesterday was a hard track workout with your running club, and today you feel pleasantly tired. You ask yourself, “What do I do today to continue recovering from your hard run and prepare for your next challenging effort?” Some possible scenarios are below based on how the body’s muscle fibers respond to certain stresses.
- If You Completed a Long Run The Day Before:
Take one or two easy days at roughly 10-15% of your total week’s mileage each. Since the long run primarily stressed your slow-twitch muscle fibers, then you can safely do some form/technique drills or light strides on these days to stay fresh and accomplish some training.
- If You Completed a Hard Tempo, Fartlek, Hill, or Track Session The Day Before:
These runs, when done at the right intensity or duration, stress a number of fibers and cause muscle inflammation to rise. Therefore, you have to recover gently from these runs with 2-3 easy or moderate days of aerobic running. Shoot for 5-10% of your weekly total for the first day, then 10-20% for the next day or two until you are no longer tired from the previous workout. Try to run on soft surfaces when possible. Avoid especially hilly routes with steep descents, as down-hills can worsen muscle soreness.
- If You Completed a Non-Goal Race:
If you hopped in a local 10K over the weekend as a tune-up race for your seasonal goal competition, take the following day relatively light with an easy recovery run (to flush the muscles of waste products), and then rest the day after that. Why run easy before taking a rest day? Easy running returns the body to a basic blood Ph following a hard, acid-inducing effort (like a race or killer workout), so you will maximize your rest day by placing a recovery run the day before. More on this next week!