So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Recovery Run? No Such Thing.

Yeah. I thought it might be a nice thing to do an "easy peasy," relatively-flat, straight, out-and-back six-miler last night (when I was typing the status this morning on FB I inadvertently missed the "I" and typed a "U". What Would Freud Say?), but my knees gave me a completely different message. I ended up spit-canning the run after a couple of miles and made a command decision to walk the two miles back to the house...which Suzanne enjoyed, also.

There were a lot of factors which I could lay blame on for the bad day, but it stood to reason I should not have tried to do six miles on a warm, humid day after doing three workouts in the preceeding thirty hours. Hm...ever think of the concept of, uh, recovery, coach? Then, I read Pat McCrann's advice and think...'perhaps a walk would have better served me at this point in the game.' So, here's what he has to say, part 16 of 30 from Marathon Nation.As I mentioned in an earlier tip, run recovery needs to be one of your highest priorities. Our sport is an endorphin-filled journey of fun...until something goes wrong. And as the veteran runners/readers will tell you, it's only a matter of time until something happens to you (sorry!). Left to their own devices, however, the running-addicted runner usually comes up with the most suspect of recovery protocols...the recovery run. Only in the world of running would this make sense...if you are tired/beat up/run down from all that...running, there can be only one solution: a short, easy run. Clearly, the majority of us runners are seriously lacking creativity here, so Coach P is going to have to crack the whip...
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A RECOVERY RUN. Period.Think about it from the perspective of your body for a second. Your legs and back and feet have conspired with your heart and constitution to send a message to your brain that you need a break. Your brain gets that info and settles on this "recovery run" strategy. Sounds good to the brain but man aren't your calves surprised to find they are running again! Didn't your brain get the memo???
My point here is that while your brain knows the nuances of "types" of runs, your body only really speaks in very short sentences. In this case: ON (Running) or OFF (Not Running). In order to really demonstrate that you get what your body is saying, you need to physically not run. That's right...Take a real, bonafide day off. Sleep in. Do a project around the house. Stay late at work (or go in early). Find a new hobby. I care about you, but I don't really care about your days off...make them off.Believe it or not, you are probably addicted to running. On some level. And if not running then perhaps to the concept of an active lifestyle. Trying to force something that isn't working to work...never works. Running is no different. A lot of really unique things have to intersect for you to have a great run session...and sometimes the easiest way to get things to sync up is to stand down for a bit.
You will go crazy...most people do on a day off. But since you know you can't run today, then you have to fill that time. This leads to the importance of planning your day off. Most of us obsess over gear, food, route, etc, for our workouts....but then have zero planned for our down time.Make this time off easier for you by actually planning other activities. Whether it's chilling with the kids, doing chores, or heading out for some errands is up to you. But if you don't plan for it, it won't happen.
At the end of the day, the best type of recovery run is...not running. Do your mind and body a favor and take the day off. A tiny, well-placed break now can really help you over the long haul!


Anonymous said...

I believe that I constantly preached the value of rest and recovery days. Some time is takes a while to learn this training element. - Coach

Michael Bowen said...

You are absolutely correct, Coach. How often, though, have we heard the "I'm going to run easy today" line...and we go out and hammer the doggone thing? Nowadays I'm more likely to shut the run down completely rather than try to ease it up...when I probably should have gone for a stroll instead. ;)

Hope you're doing well.