Recovery runs…. fact or fiction


Since I’m not following a training plan for this half-marathon I try and make up my running schedule for the week on Sunday.

For Monday, I scheduled myself to run 4 miles at an easy pace. I read quite a few running blogs, and many of them do  recovery runs after a long run or a hard tempo/interval run.

So, I decided to try a recovery run. 4 miles, 36:38, 9:09 pace. I ran the first mile around 10:00, my legs were super tight and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the entire 4 miles. Thankfully they loosened up and I continued on. I bumped the speed up every now & then and ended with an 8:20 for the last mile.. Hm, not what I was planning on doing, but it felt good and going slow was getting boring.


My Question:  Are recovery runs fact or fiction? Do they help, or are they a placebo?

I read a few articles online:

A Fresh Perspective on Recovery Runs, by Matt Fitzgerald

Relax, Recharge by Bob Cooper

I’m having a difficult time finding very much information on this type of run. Is it beneficial? Any articles/books that I should read on the subject? What is your experience with short recovery runs after a long run?

I think this is the first time ever, or at least in a really long time, that I’ve run the day after a long run. I’ve been to afraid to put extra stress on my legs.

Today is a total rest day, and I’m looking forward to it; My legs aren’t sore, but I definitely don’t want to over do it.

I hope you went over to Cait’s blog yesterday to congratulate her on an awesomely executed half-marathon. Today, head over there and tell her Happy Birthday & tell her Good Luck, crazy girl registered to run another half on the 15th! She is on fire!


5 thoughts on “Recovery runs…. fact or fiction

  1. Do you know how awesome you are?! Thanks for the shout out once again.

    I have no information for you on recovery runs. I try to do them. But they end up being more of a normal run because I get bored running slow.

    I can tell you that the 3.5 miles I ran this morning felt more difficult – physically and mentally .. then the 13.1 I ran on Sunday.

    • It’s crazy how such a short run can be so difficult. I’ve definitely been there. I can’t wait to see what time you bang out at your half on the 15th!

  2. I haven’t done any kind of research on recovery runs and I also don’t run the day after a long run (though I do CrossFit). I do know from experience though that the first run (usually Tuesday) after a Sunday long run is always harder for me when the long run mileage builds. My pace always struggles and it takes longer to get warmed up. This is also true after a leg heavy CrossFit session. Subsequent runs are easier and looser. So maybe there is something to the recovery run?

  3. I’m no Dr… but I’ve found that when I DON’T do a recovery run, I am usually in way more pain than had I done one. The problem for me is executing them properly. The point of a recovery run is to RECOVER… hmmm what a thought. And I generally think they work for ME if I still to my planned 3 or 4 SLOWWWWWWWWWWWW snail miles. The trouble is when I decide OMG i feel awesome and bang out 7 at a normal pace… anyway sorry for rambling but your post sparked my thought process.. 🙂

  4. Im typically only ever “sore” the day after a long run.. But keep in mind long for me is only 7 or 8 miles right now. I wouldnt say I that do actual recovery runs, and I hardly ever run the day after a long run, but its generally just a few slow miles if any. Not that any of my miles are ever fast, but ya know 😉

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