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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recovery Runs

I always believed recovery runs were good simply to get your stiff legs moving and clear out any lactate that may still be residing from the previous day's hard workout. I had a super tough workout yesterday which ended with my quads seizing up on the way to our final leg of the workout.

So today, though still stiff, I decided to do some research on recovery runs and see if it was beneficial for me to trek through the trails along the Thames River. I stumbled upon this fine article on A Fresh Perspective On Recovery Runs.

The article talks about how recovery runs aren't actually good at flushing  out lactate (that stuff leaves within 60 minutes of your workout) but in fact the true benefit of recovery runs lies in the endurance building attributes of the run. Since your legs are already tired, you will be training your legs to perform when tired, recruiting fresh muscle fibers and in turn causing your running to become more efficient.

The article goes on to discuss a study performed at the

University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In this study, subjects exercised one leg once daily and the other leg twice every other day. The total amount of training was equal for both legs, but the leg that was trained twice every other day was forced to train in a pre-fatigued state in the afternoon (recovery) workouts, which occurred just hours after the morning workouts.

After several weeks of training in this split manner, the subjects engaged in an endurance test with both legs. The researchers found that the leg trained twice every other day increased its endurance 90 percent more than the other leg.

So the next time your legs are stiff the day after a hard workout, try and get them out there and moving. Don't push the pace, simply go as fast as your legs want to. Take this time to have a relaxing run, both mentally and physically. You're already training your muscles to perform while at a deficit, this will inherently make you a stronger runner.

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