Happy Monday! Who is ready for a new week?
I’m not quite sure I’m ready, but I don’t think I have much choice in the matter. HA! It doesn’t help that in another week my husband switches to night shift and I don’t think I’m going to like seeing each other maybe for 5 minutes each day. One day at a time….
Sunday morning we got up and after our normal morning chores got ready to run. I had 8 easy miles on the agenda for the day and I was looking forward to taking it slow.
The first 1-2 miles I was pretty sure my legs were never going to get into the run. I was tired and my legs felt like lead. On the bright side, the rain had stopped and it was still overcast. If I didn’t know better I would have sworn it was a perfect fall day, which means perfect weather conditions!
After 4 miles my legs finally kicked it and I felt great for the remainder of the run. I averaged a 9:33 for 8 miles and it was just what I needed to get my legs back in gear!
When I first started my training plan I used to say it was hard to get myself to slow down to the paces that I was supposed to run for my easy days. However, after 8 weeks of training I get very excited for my easy days and have no problem at all taking a step back. Some days my easy pace is within range, sometimes it’s slower – but either way they are days I treasure in my training now.
Recovery days aren’t just for fun there is a real reason behind running easy after a hard or long run. A few things that are important to keep in mind for easy recovery:
You Can’t Run TOO Slow
The only way you can hurt an easy run is to run it too fast. Even though my marathon training calls for my easy days to be between a 9:01-9:40 pace I don’t pay attention to it. If I have to run a 10:00 min mile then so be it. The most important thing is that you are doing what is easy for you that day.
It may seem like a simple concept, but so many of us push TOO hard on easy days and that is what leads to injury.
Your Body Adapts During Recovery
Your body does not adapt when it is under a lot of stress. That’s why the day after a hard workout you should follow it up with recovery. Your recovery and adaptation can be enhanced through easy recovery running after a hard workout or long run.
Don’t Skip Recovery Runs
When many people first start training they see “easy days” and assumed that means that it’s okay to skip these. Don’t be fooled, these are a necessary part of your marathon training. There are some days that it is OK to take an extra rest days, thats when you have to know how your body reacts.
Easy days have as much purpose as the hard days. Your body needs them to recover properly when putting in hard effort the day prior. They aren’t just “junk miles” – they are important for you!
Listen To Your Breathing
An easy way to go about running easy without looking at pace is to listen to your breathing. I rarely wear music when going out for an easy run and instead just listen to how I am breathing.
If I notice that my breath is beginning to speed up then I will either slow down or stop, rest, and regroup myself and start again.
Aids in Building Volume
This doesn’t have to do directly with a recovery run during marathon training, but easy running is a great way to start out in working up your mileage. The focus is on completion not on pace or time. Even if you start out by doing a run/walk the goal is simply to finish and slowly build up your body’s ability to handle the mileage.
Keep You Healthy in the Off Season
As marathon runners, we can’t be in training every day throughout the year. The hard pressure we put on our bodies during training takes a toll, and keeping in that form of training all years is a direct path to serious injury. Easy running is a great way to keep your mileage and aerobic ability while taking it easier on your body.
You can’t push too hard all the time, easy running is key to staying healthy.
The moral of today’s post – don’t skip your easy days or recovery days. They are vital to your training and help your body gain the strength that it needs!
Don’t think this means don’t take rest days – those are important as well! Since adding back in rest days after an injury I have noticed a huge improvement in my running.
Plus, Piper enjoys my rest days as well!
Do you have easy and recovery days?
How do you train in the “off season”?