Recovery is an absolutely essential part of training! Include rest days in your plan as well as some chilled, recovery miles. These recovery miles help the body to adapt to the stress of training and are a great chance to focus on things that may get missed when you're tired, like form and technique.
If you run by heart rate, these runs should be in Zone 1. That's 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate. So for an average 30 year old, that's 112 - 130bpm. If heart rate monitoring is a complexity you don't want to worry about then make sure you can hold a conversation on these runs. That's speaking in full sentences, not the odd 'yes' or 'no'.
These runs should also be short! Aim to run for 30 - 40 minutes.
- Aim for 30-40 minutes.
- Keep your heart rate low, ideally Zone 1.
- These runs should feel comfortable!
How to keep the heart rate low and the pace slow
The whole point of a recovery run is that your heart rate is low and your pace is slow. This can be difficult for some, especially if a race is approaching and you've gotten pretty speedy. I find the following helps to slow me down and make sure the run is actually for recovery:
Looking at directions and admiring the view naturally slows you down. Strava has a new feature which allows you to find nearby routes that are popular with other runners, or you can follow a footpath and see where it takes you. Be safe - tell somebody and take a phone!
Hit the Trails:
Running on trails is naturally slower. You focus more on the ground (roots and mud can cause havoc!) and the ground is undulating. Trails are terrible for speed work but they are great to take some chilled time, enjoy your surroundings and keep that heart rate low.
Fast-paced, bass-heavy music is not going to slow you down...but an interesting Podcast might. There's plenty of running-related content out there if that takes your fancy, so focus on the content instead of your pace! You can listen to my podcast here.
Easy recovery runs is your chance to run as a group and have a catch up. If you're chatting you will automatically be running at a comfortable, conversational pace.