This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
We all have hard and easy days in our training plans, right? We all have workout days, long run days, and those other days we just call easy days. Some call them junk miles but they are anything but junk miles. We know they aid our recovery from those hard days while helping to build the aerobic fitness that we all know is so important for racing any distance from the mile up.
But do you include at least an occasional max recovery day? You should, especially if you’re an every day runner.
What is a max recovery day? It’s something I like to do at least once a week as an every day runner myself. It’s essentially a day when you take it even more easy than a normal easy day. You can plan these days but I think they work even better when you just start running, feel low on energy or find yourself with heavy legs, and decide to keep the pace extra easy because you need the recovery.
So how do you do a max recovery day? First, I like to cut the distance of the run a bit. Not because I’m looking to spend less time running but because I want to go slower without spending more time on my feet. Personally, I usually aim for about an hour running on most days. For me right now, that’s usually about 8 miles. On a max recovery day, I’ll say I’m going 7 miles and still expect to be around an hour. Then you just run slow.
By running even slower than usual, you get a little extra recovery while sacrificing very little in regards to aerobic development. Most important, that little extra recovery will leave you feeling fresh and recharged for your next hard day.
So next time you’re dragging more than usual, consider trying a max recovery day. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference slowing one run down can make in leaving you feeling fresh, recharged, and ready to go the next day.