Ahhhhh…..recovery week. This is the week where you get some (relative) rest. You take a look at your calendar and realize, you get to step back your mileage this week, finally. It’s been a little tough bringing up your mileage into the double digits, so now it’s time to let your body rest and heal; a little.
What are the do’s and don’ts for your step-back week?
Do: follow your plan. Take the luxury of sleeping in a little later and letting your pace be a little more comfortable. Feed your body with the nutrients that it needs to rebuild and repair. Drink plenty of water, spend some time on the foam roller, get in some good dynamic stretching, and just basically be nice to yourself. You might be pretty banged up at this point, so do your body some good.
Don’t: keep increasing your mileage. Don’t push your pace. Let your body tell you what it needs, and make sure that you are listening. Don’t eat like your putting in huge miles and you can down a whole extra large pizza by yourself. Don’t skimp yourself on sleep and don’t fill up your extra time with sports or activities that you feel like you should do since your mileage is down.
Recovery weeks can make or break any training plan. This is where injuries can happen. If you have been pushing yourself the past 3 weeks, you need to give your body time to catch up. If you don’t, you can almost guarantee yourself some type of overuse injury.
Likewise, if you’ve had some nagging injury or soreness that has been plaguing you for the last 3 weeks, now is the time to really let it heal. Continue to ice during this time, even if you think you don’t need it. Be good to yourself.
Your mileage will still be higher than it would be during your “off season”, so you won’t go crazy (crazy happens during the taper, don’t worry). So just focus on what you need to do, stick to your plan, and relax. Remember that work and rest are synergists.
Remember, if you miss a run or two during your marathon training, it’s not going to make or break you. You could take several days off, and you won’t lose the training base that you have already built up. Relax, and enjoy the ride. In the next few weeks, you’ll be hitting that 20 miler, so ease off for now.
Run Happy. Run Long.
Amy is a marathoner and triathlete, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also a marathoner and triathlete), and kids in Lewis Center.