What’s a recipe for injury?


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

Final Thoughts
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? 


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


35 thoughts on “What’s a recipe for injury?

  1. I completely agree, Judy. My rest days definitely do not include “recovery runs”. I may stretch and walk around the neighbourhood.
    I’m a strong believer in giving your body a good rest at least once a week.

    I hope you can soon get back to the swimming pools again. Are they closed in your area?
    Here they are open, but I don’t feel like going yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It depends on the run. Races or long runs. Hard runs it easy runs.

    But sometimes I do run the next day but short and easy. Mostly I don’t. Now I walk or hike.

    Everyone is different. After my marathon I walked all over the city and climbed to the top of the Vessel. Didn’t feel like I ran 26 miles. Movement really helps even you don’t feel like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mention walking as being good for recovery, and it is. I have obviously run 2 days in a row, but that’s usually a shorter, hard run followed by a short, easy run — not so much recovery, more about time on feet. Right now I’m generally not running 2 days in a row.


  3. Though I’m a fan of easy/junk miles, I understand that each body is different with finding the right balance! I love swimming, but won’t have done it all of 2020 due to the pandemic…

    I also definitely love walks, particularly with the dogs, but totally agree that it uses different muscles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love swimming too. I almost went to a friend’s pool one time . . . but in the end it didn’t happen. The pool I swam at, which I really liked — cheap & warm! — closed down at least a year before the Pandemic. 😦


    1. I think recovery cycling is great! I do think continuing to move is really important, but I also think so many runners get injured from repetitive motion — of course that’s not the only reason it happens, but it’s a big one, I think.


  4. I love my recovery runs, but they’re always easy-paced and they’re always short (1-2 miles). My body feels best when it’s in motion, even “slow” motion LOL As for non-running options, you know I’m an advocate for walking. Last year I really got into using the elliptical on my non-running days because it worked different muscles (like you mentioned) and it was a nice cardio alternative. Now that I have biking in my life, well…I don’t even have to elaborate 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, every body is definitely different, and I fully acknowledge it’s just my personal opinion.

      But I see far too many runners injured, far too many unhappy runners due to injuries — sometimes, not always, it could be avoided.


  5. I think the key to recovery runs is making them really easy, which alot of runners don’t do. They can serve a purpose if done correctly and as long as other real rest days still happen. I have found that running long on Saturday and super easy (and short) on Sunday works best for my schedule right now. (It lets me get in a family run on Sunday). I like taking my rest days on work days. Everyone is definitely different and has to find what works for them!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Other types of cardio can be good too! Injury prone runners, beginners, or runners who prefer to do less mileage are better off cross-training after a long run or just taking a full rest day. And the purpose of a recovery run isn’t necessarily to help you recover. You’re going to recover regardless. Some runners feel like it helps them to loosen up their legs, but walking and other exercise can do the same. But for people running high mileage its a way to add on easy miles onto tired legs. It works your muscles in a slightly different way. and builds aerobic capacity. It really depends on the goal for the runner.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve found as I get older, for sure, I need to space out runs more. Not everybody feels that way, although most people come to accept that they are better off with more recovery as they get older.

      Doesn’t mean not being active though! Activity is the secret to a better life, not just a longer life, IMHO.


    1. I generally have dog walks to get me outside. Except today it’s snowing. Maybe I’ll go on a solo walk later — there’s barely any snow, but if it doesn’t melt on the street, it’s not so good for Bandit.

      Although I’ve been out already, but not for a walk.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with you Judy – I would rather do a recovery walk than a recovery run these days. I tend to be a bit injury-prone so I’ve learned to really take it easy!

    I have practiced yoga but I haven’t tried yin yet. I just subscribed to your Youtube page!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope your find something you like, Janelle. Yin is a bit different, but it’s not the only thing I have on there.

      In about 2 weeks, I’m releasing a whole bunch of mostly short Yin Yoga videos aimed at getting better sleep. These often double as good runner stretches, too!


  7. I just subscribed to your YouTube page! I’ve been doing yoga more but haven’t done much yin. I have chronic muscle pain after having covid and need things like yin yoga.
    I used to do recovery runs when I did higher mileage (preCovid), pus recovery walks later in the day. Recovery walks always feel so good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about recovery walks! I often liked to walk the dog/s after a run. Sometimes it’s a little hard to juggle, though.

      Yin is more aimed at joints than muscles. It’s different from restorative Yoga — that’ll be a subject I’ll probably talk about soon — restorative is basically being so propped up that you’re not using your muscles, but it’s great for recovering from illnesses.

      Yin is more about getting into & strengthening the connective tissue. It can be gentle, but it can actually feel kind of challenging too


  8. I got into recovery runs during one bout of marathon training and found they did help stiffness and soreness more than a walk as different muscles of course. But I would literally do a couple of miles super-easy with stops for photos etc after 15 or more the previous day. I run two days on, one day off now, and have been since April and feel OK with it, however, I’m only doing a few miles a week more than I used to, so those runs are typically a lot shorter, so I am running what I used to do in one day over two days. And if I reach my weekly target (which is to do with boosting my immunity and mental health, nothing else) then I have no issues with taking a rest day! I’m also very careful about warming up and stretching after.

    I do agree though that going out pounding away day after day, esp as a new runner, is requesting an injury, and I see it a lot with new runners coming through club.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was lucky when I trained for my 18 miler. Such a difference from a marathon — which is part of why I didn’t run a marathon that year. I did a half as a race, and then I just did a couple of longer long runs & that was pretty much it! It worked really well for me.

      Warming up & stretching after are so important — and so easy to skip!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree- that’s how I ended up injured again. I was doing OrangeTheory Fitness on my non running days but because it still has running as part of the workout it wasn’t enough non-running for me. Hence the stress fracture. I need to pick a cross training workout that doesn’t have as much running (or any running) in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I like a nice walk as my recovery activity. Right now, I run three days a week and walk four, and it’s really crazy how many different muscles do get used. I never paid much attention to walking once I started running, but it’s back as a valid exercise for me. I also love yoga, but I just don’t do it enough.

    Liked by 1 person

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