Recovery. Recovery. Recovery.
This is a constant mantra in the running world – no matter what running magazine, book, or website you read. It can range from walking or resting between intervals to making sure there is a day of easy running after a hard workout to taking time off after race. I’ve never had a problem on the lower end of the scale. Walk/jog 400 meters after an 800 meter repeat? No problem – in fact can I turn that 400 into an 800? Three easy miles the day after a seven mile tempo run? Yes – please!
However, I do have a problem with the post race recovery – mostly when it comes to post marathon recovery. If one follows the traditional adage of one day of recovery for every mile raced – that is practically a month!! And I know the month recovery period is not a month of sans running or being active. And I know I need downtime for my mental health – otherwise I’ll just burn out on running. But I have never been able to master the perfect marathon recovery month. I either do too little and have to work hard to bring my fitness back up or I do too much and struggle through the beginning part of my next training cycle. I’ve tried following Recovery Plans because I generally like a good training plan, but I find them too regimented. And, on top of all of this, I have a running addicted pup that doesn’t understand recovery at all. She wants to go for a run Every. Single. Day.
But I think I’ve finally hit upon the secret! I call it the Running Hippie Recovery Method. Here are the “rules” (except there are no real rules because, you know, hippie):
- Have fun
- No watches
- Go for long walks
- Explore new running route
- Run on trails
- Play like a little kid
- Try some yoga – or continue to practice if that’s your thing
- Run slow or fast or medium. Run how you feel that day
Essentially “playing” through my recovery allows me to keep my fitness, but doesn’t stress me out. I’m starting my new training cycle (going for a half-marathon PR!) this week and I feel ready to go. And – most importantly – the Running Hippie Recovery Method allows me to keep the pup entertained!
What do you do for recovery? Do you follow a plan? or do you just “wing it”?