Most people love their recovery runs. Most coaches seem to like to assign them. Me? Not a fan. I’ll tell you why. Of course, I am not a running coach, a physical therapist, yadda yadda, so on and so forth. This is just my opinion.
Too much repetitive motion
No matter how much you love running, there’s no denying a simple truth: it’s hard on the body. It’s even harder on the body as we get older and older. What, you say you can still run every day no problem? Maybe you can. Maybe you always have. Maybe some day you’ll find out the hard way that you can’t any more — or maybe not. If recovery runs are your jam, and I know some bloggers who love them, I hope that they always work for you.
A lot of runners end up on the injured list — and who wants to be there? — because all they do is run. Any repetitive motion is not good for our bodies. I got carpal tunnel syndrome (before it was a thing) from playing the flute as a kid. No joke. It was really painful, too!
Of course you should recover!
You should move the day after a hard effort. No one should be a slug! I prefer a hike, walking, cycling, Yoga, or swimming. Swimming is one of my favorite recovery activities, it’s just unfortunate I no longer have anywhere to swim. The fact that there’s no pounding of your joints is a huge plus for swimming.
Cycling is also great — it may still be a forward motion, like running, but it does use different muscles and it’s also low impact.
Walking is another thing I do all the time. If you’ve ever walked a longer race rather than run it, you know that your muscles are used differently than if you had run the race. You’ll probably be surprised to be sore — but in different ways than you may feel sore after running a race. Most likely because you didn’t train to walk a race.
Yoga is next up for me, but I’m doing Yoga daily anyway. I always love a Yin Yoga session the evening after a long run. My body thanks me when I wake up the next day.
Hiking can work, too, as it’s much slower (and therefore less impact) than running — but climbing mountains is probably not the best thing to do after a hard run. A gentle hike with a little up & down might just be the ticket, though.
I know a lot of runners love their recovery run. It seems to work just fine for many runners. I wonder what all that repetitive motion is really doing to their bodies, though. — Chocolaterunsjudy
I believe in active recovery. I just don’t believe in doing the same thing, day in and day out. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
ICYMI: The second short video in the Yin Yoga FAQ is who Yin Yoga is good for, which you’ll here. You might be surprised (or maybe not). The first one explains the 3 principles of Yin Yoga here. If you have a question, drop it in the comments and I’ll cover it — eventually!
What’s your favorite non running way to recover from a long run?
What do you do the day after a long run?
Do you thinking hiking can be used to recover from a hard workout?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.