I became a runner about 11 years ago, when my daughter was a year old. Most of what I learned from running at the beginning I did so through Team in Training. It was a great way to learn and it sparked my interest and passion for running. Over the years I have continued to pick up things here and there about the sport. Books, magazines, online resources and picking fellow runner’s brains are great resources for the recreational runner.
Some things I read about but don’t incorporate, (like barefoot running or track workouts) but every now and then I’ll add something to my training that helps tremendously. The most important tool I’ve added to my training toolbox is a recovery run the day after a long run. It gives me a chance to shake out the stiffness or aches that settled in after my long run and I find that my training improves when I add those recovery runs.
The main purpose of a recovery run is restoration, you should not be running to improve anything. You should not run fast, you should not do hill repeats, a track workout or intervals. You may be frustrated by your speed (or lack thereof) and if that’s the case, you are doing it properly. Smooth, easy, slow, and steady should be your goal. My recovery runs are only 3 miles but they are a very important 3 miles of my week!
Add a recovery day to your weekly training and see if it makes a difference in your training.
Now go run!