How long have I been running? Let’s see – over 6 years. And in that period how many times have I read or been told that you need to run your recovery days slowly? Countless. So why is it coming as a shock to me that when I run my recoveries easy – like 5:00/k or slower – I feel great the day after?
It’s like that famous Issa haiku:
Climb Mt. Fuji,
But slowly, slowly.
(It’s the only haiku I’ve sort of memorized, so I pull it out whenever I can – even when it doesn’t really make sense – and when I’m probably misquoting the translation... oh well... you still think I’m s-m-r-t, right?)
Here’s how my runs have been going: did the 17k race on Sat – felt beat up, so did easy 8k recovery on Sun instead of a long run – felt good enough to do a 25k long run on Mon – got a bit beat up by the run – did easy 8k recovery on Tues – was amazed that I felt good enough to do a VO2 workout on Wed – felt beat up after – did easy 8k recovery today – feel great. Now I can do something easy Friday – and then I’ll be ready for some threshold running on Sat. In the past, I would’ve blown everything by running 4:15s on my recovery days. I would’ve driven the fatigue deeper into my legs instead of coaxing it out with slow running.
So this is my Coach’s Corner moment: kids! even if you feel okay the day after a workout and even if you feel uncomfortable running as slow as your grandma – do your recoveries right! Otherwise, all the other kids will grind you into the corner... and you’ll cry.