In this post, I’ll share the details of my proven strategy for recovering from a hard workout or race. It’s essential that when you stress your body that you properly recover so you can ultimately optimize your performance on race day.
Below I’ll layout the 7 things that I do immediately following and throughout the day of a hard workout.
1) Water/fluids – it’s absolutely critical to rehydrate. Even if follow your hydration plan during longer runs, after you finish any workout, it’s essential to drink plenty of water and also sports drinks after longer runs or hard workouts.
2) Nutrition – discussed in last week’s post. Within 30 minutes of completing your hard workout, it’s essential that you consume some healthy carbs & proteins. Eating a healthy recovery within a few hours of your workout will help you feel so much better.
3) Bauerfiend compression socks & sleeves – especially after long runs & long tempos, I wear compression socks for 2-4 hours. Although there’s many brands of compression socks available, I find that the Bauerfiend brand is very durable (I’ve had mine for 2+ years), they are affordable and most important, they relieve any sore or stiffness in my legs. Bottomline, they work and I recommend them.
4) Foam rolling – this one’s essential for middle age athletes. Check out my video with details on how to make foam rolling a part of your healthy routine. I like to foam roll at night following a hard workout. I also foam roll whenever I’m feeling stiffness in my legs.
5) Stretches – following are just a few of the stretches that I typically complete right after my run.
a) Active Isolated Stretching – with rope – complete daily or at least 5 times/week (click the link to see video)
b) Calf stretches (against a wall)
c) Standing quad stretch
d) Achilles stretch
e) Piriformus Stretch
6) Hot Tub – if you have access to a hot tub, use it the evening of your hard workout. Just 5 minutes helps aching muscles and also will help you sleep (the #1 best way to recover).
7) Sleep – during your training, it’s very important to maximize your sleep to optimize your recovery. This is not only true on hard days, but I find that I perform much better when I get plenty of sleep the night before a hard workout (seems obvious, but there’s many people who don’t try to maximize their sleep).
Follow the above strategy and I’m very confident that you’ll be able to really push and hit your paces during your hardest workouts.
Following are my workouts for the week of June 18th.
Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that I completed this week & throughout my journey.
Monday June 18th – short run @ easy pace
The purpose of this run was to rest prior to the next day’s very demanding workout. At this late stage of my training, I have found that I get much more from my hard workouts by giving myself an extra day Tempos & Strength training runs.
This week I have 3 days of business travel as well, so I planned on Tuesday & Saturday hard runs.
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of Easy on Easy Days & Hard on Hard Days so you can maximize the benefit of the stress.
Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 6.1 miles, 48:33 minutes, ave pace 7:52
Tuesday June 19th – Strength run 4 x 1.5miles
This was my last strength/interval run. Unlike my previous repeat of 1.5miles, which was on a track, I ran this workout on flat crushed rock path. Conditions were optimal early in the morning. Initially, I was disappointed that my intervals weren’t as fast as before (all at 6:20/mile pace). However, I realized that the trail mileage markers were not completely accurate, so my 1.5 mile was actually closer to 1.55 miles which adds at least 20 seconds to my times. My times slowed slightly as I progressed.
Bottomline….bonus hard effort for additional 20+ seconds/interval :-). Results are below.
1 mile warm-up @ easy
4 x 1.5 miles @ 10km pace with 3-4 minutes rest (easy jog)
1 mile cool down at easy
Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 9.7 miles, 1:16:43 minutes, ave pace 7:54
If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.
Wednesday June 20th – short run @ easy pace
Very limited time to run today due to business travel. I completed 4 miles @ easy pace on a treadmill. 5 The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous days’ very demanding run.
Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 4 miles, 32:00 minutes, ave pace 8:00
Thursday June 21st – Short Run @ easy pace
Not much time due to business commitments. Early morning run around Horseshoe Bay Resort, TX – 4.5 miles @ easy pace. Hot & humid at 630am.
Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 4.7 miles, 40:11 minutes, ave pace 8:31
Friday June 22nd – Off Day
Rest & Recovery Day – Business Travel
Saturday June 16th – 12 mile Tempo
This was the last and toughest tempo of my training. The purpose of this day’s workout was to build strength & provide the best indication of my marathon fitness. This week we increased the distance of the tempo by 2 miles. Target pacing was Marathon Pace (around 6:50/mile). If I can complete this run on target without being too tired, I’m good.
Ideally you also want to complete this last long tempo around 2 weeks prior your race. In addition, to give you a most accurate indication of your fitness, complete the run on a course that has similar terrain as your race. Fortunately for me, I have the perfect location (where I completed last week’s 10 mile tempo and the 10km time trial a few weeks ago). After this run you will start a gradual taper with lower mileage and shorter intervals/tempo runs.
With 3 days of easy or rest prior, I should have been ready to go for this run. However, my challenge with this run was my late return from a long flight the evening before. Although I performed well by finishing the 12 mile tempo in 84 minutes (7 min/mile pace), I was off on Marathon Pace. I think lack of quality sleep the nights before probably slowed me. My plan is to be home, getting plenty of rest for 5 nights before my race (not counting the night before the race because it’s hard to sleep).
Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 13.4 miles, 1:37:31 minutes, ave pace 7:16
Sunday June 17th – Short Run @ easy pace + strides
The purpose of today’s run was to recover from yesterday’s very difficult tempo run. Strides are to practice quick leg turnover.
Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.1 miles, 47:46 minutes, ave pace 9:13
Weekly total = 43.1 Miles