DIARY: Redefining the Recovery Run!

Training Plan entry:

  • Zone: 1
  • Time: 81 minutes
  • Description: Recovery
  • Est. Dist: 14.2k
  • Est Pace: 5:42min/km (09:11min/mile)

This is what I woke up to this Monday morning (generally the day I take it easiest, taking it easy doesn't have the same meaning it used to, so I refrain from the phrase here). There's a pretty general consensus that most recovery runs should be no longer than an hour. There's unanimous agreement that it should be slow enough to make you ashamed of yourself.

It reminds me of the great John Treacy who would jog so slow on his recovery days that other competitive runners would refuse to join him. Or of American legend Frank Shorter who brought a young hotshot out for a slow run. The youngster was amazed by the ease of the pace and felt quietly confident when invited for next days track workout. Two laps later the poor youngster was destroyed while Frank just kept laying out dust trails on the track.

Because of the cross-country on Sunday combined with my target of 8 hours running and 95k this week, I had to shift most of the volume to early in the week, meaning more consecutive days of volume running after last week.

I kept it slow in the rainy dark around the Vartry Reservoir in Roundwood and shuttled around nicely in 5:53 min/km (9:30min/mile), a bit slower than predicted. In the end, 81 minutes and 13.7k done as my Monday recovery. My legs were in surprisingly good shape considering the adaptations that are being asked of them, and based on today's evidence I'm inclined to say you can do quite a bit of running as recovery once you are used to high volume and once you keep the pace very slow.

Tomorrow, I've got 60 minutes of base running lined up with 35 minutes of marathon-effort sandwiched in the middle. If today's recovery run didn't work as expected I will break the marathon session into a number of long reps like last week. All in all, I expect a session around the 20k and then another very long run to leave the remainder of the week relatively easy.

Week 4
This week looks like this (all distances are approximate):

Monday: 81min recovery (14k)
Tuesday: 60min base and 35min marathon (20.5k)
Wednesday: 99min base/recovery (17.5k)
Thursday: 20min warmup, 30 minute fartlek, 20 min cooldown (15k)
Friday: 45 min slow hill (8k)
Saturday: 30min jog/taper (5k)
Sunday: 20 min warmup, Leinster Novices, 20 min cooldown (approx 60 minutes and 13k)

This will hopefully set me up for a reasonable showing in the Leinster Novices and preferably somewhat faster than my first outing this year.

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