The Importance of Recovery

Yesterday I jotted down my running goals for the week in my fitbook. My plan for May has been flexible with general goals of running 40 miles a week, doing yoga every day, and running doubles on Tuesday and Thursday. It was all part of my May Madness and I have been loving it. Essentially, I was striving to get my training to where I wanted it to be before getting back on a training plan with my coach starting June 2nd.

I woke up this morning and opted to sleep a bit more. I decided doubles wasn't necessary today and began pondering a recovery week. I can't say I slept that much extra but I did lay in bed thinking that perhaps I should take a recovery this week before starting up with my coach next week. The idea of starting training with him "fresh" sounded appealing. The idea of pushing myself another week my way is oh so tempting. What will I do?

First, let's discuss the importance of recovery.

In my training I push myself and I realize that those increased efforts result in wear and tear on my muscles. It is the rebuilding of those small, micro tears that make me stronger. I aim to have 1-2 easy days each week of running but still, the increased effort of running longer, running faster, and/or adding in more yoga does impact my body. Yes, yoga is healing and therapeutic but trust me, some of those poses I am working on are challenging and take effort. And to grow stronger from effort one needs to recover. It is when you muscles can rebuild completely and grow stronger. It is when your energy levels can be refilled. It is when you can grow mentally - at least for me. Taking an easy week often takes some envisioning or plain determination to run less.

The primary reason recovery is so important is it is your route to avoid over training. Trust me, over training will not get you to where you want to go. Your effort will feel greater and your return is diminishing. You are risking injury beyond those little micro tears and is this really worth the cost?

I feel I am pretty good at listening to my body. If I am tired, I go to bed a bit earlier. If I am stressed with work, etc., I realize that can impact my training. I balance the running for stress relief with running slower to not further strain my body some times. At other times, some awesome intervals can bust the stress out of me. It is important to listen to your body because you are the only one who truly knows how you feel.

How am I feeling now? My legs are a bit tired and my hips are a bit achy. Nothing serious. I know I can run later today and that my legs will be there for me. What I don't know is what my coach will have on my plate come June 2nd. I want to go into that training ready to perform and train optimally and for that reason, I just may accept a sub-40 mile week this week. I will say bye-bye to some doubles here and there. I will let my legs fully recharge and I will complement this with eating clean, hydrating well, and getting plenty of rest.

For my runners, I always schedule in a recovery week after three weeks of training. They build and recover in a cycle. When I sit down and formally write myself a plan, I do the same for myself. When I fly by the seat of my pants things like this happen.

Not bad training at all but yes, I do feel a recovery week just may be in order.

Do you schedule yourself regular recovery weeks? 

Daily Gratitude: I am so thankful to be working with my coach again!
Daily Affirmation: Recovery makes me a better, stronger runner.


  1. Saturdays are my rest days and after dragging myself to really low levels of energy, I decided to listen more carefully to its signs. Today, I had a bad migraine. I had to work, but I did not train. It is wiser to let the body recover properly than exhausting it.
    I learned it the hard way, but I will not forget the lesson.

  2. Recovery is where all the training pays its dividends. I've learnt the hard way about making sure you listen to your body and rest when you're tired or too stressed. Great post!


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