The answer is in intensity. What is intensity ?
Intensity is the difficulty, the weight, the reps, sets, the type of execution (speed, concentration, bfr…), the already present fatigue and the rest period all combined. In case of a running race recovery, you must choose the intensity what will trigger stimulation towards recovery. That is basically a movement what can put you into full range of motion without stress. Movements to increase blood flow to all muscle areas due to complete elongation and because of this higher volume faster blood flow you will further detoxify too. Also after a hard race, muscle stiffness and limited range of motion is present, so when you gain back your complete amplitude, the mental state is important too, when feeling the ability to execute daily routines and execute in sports too.
Without self knowledge this correct intensity cannot be chosen. The coach cannot choose it for you. If he must do so and he was a good coach, he for sure would underestimate the needed intensity. This is not a problem, but you will not maximise the gains that could have been made.
I give you some examples from me and from an athlete I worked with previously.
- 6 squats + 6 lunges with a water bag
- 20 seated russian twists
- 5 supermans
- 50 skipping ropes
- 10 high knees + 10 high heels
- 10 focused abs with powerful breathing
- balancing calf raises while walking
- 20sec front and side planks + 20 sec wall squat
- 60meter acceleration
- r easy / R 3 to 4min easy / 1 to 4 sets max / Mobility before and after
When the athlete is in build phase, he can do 20 times more and do 5 – 6 sets of it. When the athlete is in preparation phase or even in moderate specific phase, he could the 10 times as much with 5 – 6 sets twice a week, without compromising the actual training cycle. As you can see, this means about 10% work, recovery taken easy, never get winded and so on. As a first training session after a race, this is a way better option than a biomechanically compromised slow run for an hour.
As you can see, basically you can choose any training routine. It doesn’t have to be a superset, a staged circular multi-activity routine or with weights. The importance is on do something familiar, do it properly and drastically cut the intensity. You have the habit of doing 80kg squats, but never engaged in get-ups, but you think that now is the time to do 8kg turkish get-ups and boom the injury is there. No. Something you totally familiar with. Choose stuff that you already do. Normally if you’ve never done foam rolling, you won’t injure yourself, but still learn how to roll out. It is important to understand what you do, why you do it and how you execute.